In 1998, Francisco J Gutiérrez published his book Silvio Rodríguez: the chosen one. A magnificent 378-page work that presents us with one of the most profound and rigorous studies of the Cuban master's work, and of which I had the honor of being an editor. Today we share an excerpt from the book that makes a brilliant analysis of the song The Strange Man.
The song The strange man it was premiered at the concert in Chile, on March 31, 1990, in Santiago, after the return to democracy and was dedicated to Victor Jara. However, moving away a bit from the fact of having been dedicated to the Chilean singer-songwriter, the strange man seems to be a marginal man, marginalized, but who has the gift of giving without asking for anything in return. Detached from all material ambition, he is strictly the opposite of the type of "successful" human being that capitalism proposes to us. The strange manHe is a pure idealist, a poet who believes that the world can be changed with only love, with only peace.
From my perspective, the strange man brings us to a fundamental theme: the transforming power of love, approached from the perspective of a human being who, from his daily life and from small acts of love, manages to change the world ... As Galeano told us: “Many small people in small places, doing little things can change the world ”. But I leave you with the accurate and profound analysis of my great friend Francisco J. Gutiérrez.
The strange man
Western society sick healthy and enthroned wicked. If it were in his hands the troubadour would build a "village in a very remote forest, two inches behind the sun, each tenant in a flower and on each floor is love"
The creators enjoy (or suffer?) Sensitivity, exposed and sick; changes in climate, mood or behavior turn them on and off, lift them up and prostrate them. They grow in isolated and uncontaminated spaces: jungle, interiority or spaces alien to individualistic struggles. They depend, in other cases, on extra-natural resources such as drugs, liquor or belief in spiritual guides who take their followers out of the concrete world. Finally, we have the cases of creators who, through reflective observation and self-development, recreate or prolong individual universes that Silvio defines specifically as childhood. Fortunately for his followers, his enlightened vision draws from that source.
Made to measure, this refuge increases capacity and ingenuity in times of creative waking. Regressions traumatize, the harsh reality shakes inclemently in proportion to the rapport achieved and not even think about the final return or its slow decomposition.
Silvio dedicates this song to the laughingstock of the people, hypersensitive child of the cycle that does not adapt to urban-rational voracity
The strange man lyrics
That man was strange, / or so they took him,
because he kissed everything / what he found in his path.
He kissed people, / the dog, the furniture
and sweetly bit / the window of a room.
When I went out to the street / I was kissing the neighborhood
corners, sidewalks, / portals and markets,
and on movie nights / (also theater nights)
he kissed his chair / and those on his sides.
For these and many others / the sane took him
where no one would see it, / where not to remember it,
and they say that in his cell / he kissed his shoes,
his cot, his bars, / his mud walls.
One day without warning, / that strange man died
and very naturally / on land they planted it.
At that very moment, / from the sky, the birds
they discovered that the world / had been born lips.
Huge and historical feeling of guilt invades us; How many times has city indifference been a bar or lock for men deserving of better luck? Loving and harmless, object of derision that they stoically endure without apparent disappointment. Who or what makes us behavior regulators? What is the model? Who does it represent?
Manifestations of steely humanism, like The Strange Man, bring to mind the loving naivety of older brothers, aborigines of America. The cruel "use of reason", how many killed and how many more unhinged?
Creators inhabit fringes bordering on happiness and misery, exaltation and routine, sweetness or harshness, and their reasons are not always understood. The width of the strip that exposes them is unknown and frequently makes them jugglers of aggressiveness or misunderstanding.
The north of human behavior is not alien to us; We present it and towards it, unnoticed, we line up efforts and desires; but, cowardice or prudence wreak havoc on our consciences.
Article The strange man. Page 59 Taken from the book: Silvio Rodríguez El Elegido, 1998. Francisco J. Gutiérrez. Editorial FAID.