Why bemol Ardiente? Many, many years ago a friend casually gave me a CD that he didn't much care for. If I remember correctly he had been living and working in Columbia (he's Puerto Rican originally) and somebody gave him a CD by a group called Son Miserables. He didn't much care for it and he thought I might get more out of it. I listened to it a couple of times and didn't really think much of it. You've probably had an experience similar to this; you have a CD (tape or LP) that you don't really think much of for the first couple of years - or even a song that you don't really notice on a CD that you otherwise like. Then one day something clicks and the song/CD/tape/LP suddenly becomes one of the most beautiful things you've ever heard. That's how it was with this CD. Several years had passed and suddenly this music came to life for me and I couldn't stop listening to it.
One song in particular struck me, Madagascar. The first couple of lines were very cryptic for me, though. Spanish isn't my first language and one of the tools I used to learn it was music, listening to songs. This was before the internet was a common part of our lives, though. Even if I'd had access to the internet, there probably wasn't the plethora of sites willing to give me the all of lyrics that I wanted to know at the click of a button. That's how it used to be for us music lovers, and I feel that in many ways we've lost a lot of the romance due to the instant access to lyrics and downloadable songs. We used to wait to hear the song on the radio and listen so closely for all the words. If we had the tape, we'd play the song over and over, trying to remember the lines or trying to understand that one part that escaped us. We'd ask our friends and we'd all sit together listening to the song, rewinding it and calling out what we thought they singer had said. Now, I can look up the words almost any time I want to and it's almost like a precocious climax. Often I simply forget to even look the lyrics up; that's how disinterested I've become with all of this instant and total gratification.
But, I digress. The poetic words beginning the song Madagascar were a puzzle for me. Although I understood the words, I couldn't understand their meaning. "En vez de un bemol ardiente, piensas que el futuro te depara nadar sola bajo el mar." I asked my friend, the one who had given me the CD to begin with. (He has a Master's degree in literature, after all.) He suggested that the bemol ardiente was a poetic way of expressing a rough spot in a life. Bemol is a flat, as in music – like an E Flat. A slump, a slight decline. The song seems to suggest that she is viewing a small downturn in her life as if the future had dumped her alone in the middle of the ocean. Well, it was certainly a slump in my life and I thought that I had never heard anything so beautiful. Not to be cliché, but it was nice to pretend that he was singing those words to me. It was comforting.
So this is my way of taking that bemol Ardiente, those hard times, the unending loneliness and feelings of futility, the friends and laughter that were there, the longing and searching, the cold, dark dread I felt as I realized that the bridge was collapsing underneath me and I was about to fall to an unimaginable low... this will be part of an attempt to take those things and use them for something new. That's the idea. I don't plan to write the dark paragraphs that I did back then. They were effective, but that's where I was then, not now. I just want to find a way to take that, with other parts of my life and use them to make something good.
Thank you for reading. Do come back and visit me again.
e A r n i e