With the Sprouts I Sowed (Y con brotes de mi siembra)

Author:
Andrés Rivanera (lyrics) and Eugenio Moglia (music). Popularized by Los Moros and Jorge Yáñez.
Testimony by:
Guillermo Orrego Valdebenito

In Chacabuco there were two theatres: one that was very beautiful and was linked to the old saltpetre works, where it is claimed (wrongly as it happens) that Caruso once performed; and another theatre that was inside the concentration camp. At the latter venue, every Sunday night at about 8 o’clock, a show was performed with the sole participation of the political prisoners and in the presence of the camp’s guards, and at the express invitation of the Council of Elders, a body that represented the comrades in captivity.

In those shows there was an outstanding contribution by our comrade Servando Becerra, whose nickname was ‘Venancio,’ and who had a preference for performing songs of ‘El Temucano’ (Tito Fernández). Venancio also performed work by other songwriters. One of the audience favourites was “Y con brotes de mi siembra” (With the sprouts I sowed), particularly when the lyrics said: "... it was then that Chano stood up on the cart and shouted: Hey! Who wants to go to town and stir it up?".

You can just imagine the answer that came back from the almost thousand prisoners in the audience, full of force and inspiration. The din was such that the performance had to be stopped for a few moments, as the laughter and jokes exceeded everyone’s expectations. The verse "Let’s go then, everyone said" was belted out with all our hearts, and we even offered the meagre cash reserves we still had on us, casting all caution to the wind.

More laughter and jokes occurred towards the end of the song when Venancio offered his own ‘crop’: “... and here I am! Without a job and my throat parched....". Curiously, what had previously been an important part of our tragedy, that is to say the torture, was with this finale transformed into widespread laughter. Our jailers who were also our invited authorities, joined in.


Published on: 26 May 2015


On the road, asleep
in puddles, weeds and stones
where your house and mine
whisper secrets back and forth
and one block away they talk of things
of cracks and leaks
death passed by last night
galloping on his black mule
with a poncho of dawn and shroud
and a bone for a lasso and rein.

She pranced around my window
and stopped at your door
threw your husband onto his haunch
he ran after two more
as to me, he was just able to grab me
and take me by the hair.

Recitation:

Who would imagine!
to think that a wild gathering
that began plastered in laughter
would end congealed in tragedy
that friendship and love
would end up in the same shit ...
that on account of stale grudges
fresh blood would flow
and in a salad of gashes
we would puncture the party.

Good to find that lady gunpowder
pretty jealous and treacherous
that explodes when memories, wine and skirts
Join together!
And more with your man, who always
drank black chicha
with you, who are like an axe
for making disputes
and with me, although never
I seek the heart of the fig
when they step on my poncho
I throw caution to the wind.

The night was running along
and around four-thirty.
There was no more lamb left
or any prey to sample.
The wine had run
enough to bathe mares
and the women singers were so hoarse
they didn’t even flap.

It was then that Chano
climbed onto the carriage
and shouted: hey! Who wants
to go and stir up the town?
Let's go! let’s go
Let's go! said everyone
but before that, one last dance!
and again they began
to strike the guitars
the singers to thresh their voices
and the couples to hitch up.

The deadman went out into the yard
perhaps to ease his conscience
and you who before then
was after me with giggles and signs
grabbed me by a wing
and to the dance floor the couple.

We turned around each other’s arm
the others made wheels
you hitched up your skirt
even showing half a leg
I pulled the poncho to the floor
and made the spurs sing
and circled you like a rooster
my hankie in wing and crest
on a tip and heel
tapping with all its might
with a rest break in the same glass
hug and knee on the ground.

Amid the drumbeat
the mess and rattle
then the party fell apart
in a single heave.
The deadman arrived and went
after the crowd like a wild beast.

The sweetest thing I told you
was a four-letter name (“Puta”).
All of a sudden the kin
took me out to the corral
and threatened me with the coil
of whip to the head.
They could not hold him up:
What a strong Christian!
His son-in-law asked for a deck of cards
my brother secured my bet
and we braided the four of us
to wherever it fell.

The thing from the start
became pungently ugly.
The insults flew
dishes and bottles.
The roosters rioted
I don’t know who stepped on the dog
and the womenfolk screeched
like a pig in the trough.

The deadman, iron in hand
hit the air blindly.
A knife pierced my shoulder
I also unleashed my tool and Yah! ...
and that’s all I remember
because a blanket of fog
made my eyes go all red
my memory and consciousness.

And here I am! what's done is done
and may it be what God wants.
He who rides a wild horse,
should hold on if it bucks.
I’m really sorry for you
but you threw the stone
and although you now hide your hand
Who sent you to make signs to me,
to dance only with me
and to show so much of your leg
knowing well that for the deadman
the idea always gnawed in him
that if he had indulged himself with you
and won you in good faith
he took the land I had ploughed
with the sprouts that I sowed?
I go from the party to the wake
I, to the hospital and the cell ...
So how’s that! When will you invite me
to dance cueca again?