Con Toda Palabra

Lhasa de Sela. I have been enchanted by her music as of late. I vaguely recall hearing “Con toda palabra” at some coffee shop or bar somewhere.

One of those things you promise yourself to most definitely dig out, download, borrow, or buy and listen to profusely. In this case, due to some reason or another, I forgot all about the song’s sweet melody and enchanting lyrics -though it seems the song had not forgotten all about me, and had managed to lodge itself in some dark corner of my mind.

So when I came across a blog that recommended two other songs by Lhasa (desierto & de cara a la pared), and which I liked, I began exploring her work. Which brought me full circle back to, you guessed it, Con toda palabra. The video for the song on YouTube is well done, and presumably meaningful – though what meaning it conveys, I have not been able to tell yet. Mostly because I find myself over and again lost in the lyrics and the music. The sailing music, the sailing away lyrics, and Lhasa’s beautiful, pinpoint, and often mournful delivery of them. Lhasa has been compared to Lila Downs, of whom I know little, but also to the golden girl Edith Piaf (earning her the monicker “The Mexican Edith Piaf”)

I am not versed in the language of the music critic, so here is a review snippet about my favorite Lhasa track:

…”Con Toda Palabra,” which announces itself as a dizzying swirl of sounds and atmospheres: the restrained patter of live and electronic percussion, prickling pizzicato strings, the distressed sighs of sustained guitar drones, and the unabashed moan of gypsy violin. Lhasa’s voice, appearing deeper, richer, and darkened by some trauma, evokes a level of expressive intensity that relegates most previous performances to the domain of the merely pretty. Frequently threatening to become a keening wail, it wraps itself around the words with a desperate determination that causes the consonants to tremble with stress. No surprise when the lyrics (mostly concerning affairs of the heart) frequently aspire to psalmlike levels of apocalyptic austerity. “To love you is a prayer,” a translated verse of “Con Toda Palabra” solemnly states, “the song of the mute; the eyes of the blind; the naked secret.”

Here is another tidbit from the same review that sums up why a tragic soul like mine finds solace in Lhasa’s music -i.e. for much the same reason that will probably drive away large segment of music listeners here in the US:

But if anything stunts its success, it will be the rich vein of darkness and regret that Lhasa can’t seem to drag herself away from. You’d have to be numb, deaf, or both to ever relegate The Living Road to the status of background music.

Lyrics to Con Toda Palabra:

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda caricia

Me acerco al agua
Bebiendo tu beso
La luz de tu cara
La luz de tu cuerpo

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

Me entrego a tus brazos
Con miedo y con calma
Y un ruego en la boca
Y un ruego en el alma

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda caricia

Me acerco al fuego
Que todo lo quema
La luz de tu cara
La luz de tu cuerpo

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

Me entrego a tus brazos
Con miedo y con calma
Y un ruego en la boca
Y un ruego en el alma

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~ by safrang on May 4, 2007.

4 Responses to “Con Toda Palabra”

  1. […] mexican edith piaf i am badly missing the music of lhasa de sela whom i have praised earlier on this blog. music which seems to evoke memories of experiences i have not had yet and never will. music which […]

  2. A Mexican Edith Piaf? She’s Canadian of Mexican and Jewish origin – but “Canadian Edith Piaf doesn’t have the same ring to it :-). And she handles two other languages (French and English, but Spanish fits her voice best)

    What does “Con Toda Palabra” mean?

  3. Lyric translation into English:

    With every word
    With all smiles
    With all eyes
    With every touch

    I go to water
    Drinking your kiss
    The light of your face
    The light of your body

    Loving you is pray
    It’s dumb song
    Blind gaze
    Naked Secret

    I surrender to your arms
    With fear and calmly
    And a fire in the mouth
    And a plea on the soul

    With every word
    With all smiles
    With all eyes
    With every touch

    I go to fire
    Let everything burn
    The light of your face
    The light of your body

    Loving you is pray
    It’s dumb song
    Blind gaze
    Naked Secret

    I surrender to your arms
    With fear and calmly
    And a fire in the mouth
    And a plea on the soul

  4. Thank you

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