inner_v0ice: (***tomoe)
Inner Voice ([personal profile] inner_v0ice) wrote in [community profile] forkedtongues2010-04-10 11:57 am

Ultimo Adios by José Rizal, adapted by Gary Granada

I'd like to share a song adaptation of the poem written by Philippine hero José Rizal on the night before his execution in 1896, posthumously entitled Mi último adiós. The song uses only three stanzas of the original 14-stanza poem (the first and last stanzas and one other), alternating with singer-songwriter Gary Granada's own Tagalog translations of each stanza.

(The file is freely downloadable at his website, but I've re-uploaded it at to spare his bandwidth.)

Ultimo Adios
original Spanish by José Rizal; selection, Tagalog translation, and music by Gary Granada
(provided by me: English translation by Edwin Agustín Lozada)

¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.
Farewell, beloved Country, treasured region of the sun,
Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!
To you eagerly I surrender this sad and gloomy life;
And were it brighter, fresher, more florid,
Even then I’d give it to you, for your sake alone.
Paalam bayang hirang, lupang hitik sa araw
Perlas ng Silanganan, aming naglahong Eden
Lugod kong iaalay, lanta’t hapis na buhay
Naging mas marilag man, sariwa’t mas mabunga’y
Handog man din sa iyo, sa iyong ikagagaling
Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.
My lifelong dream, my deep burning desire,
This soul that will soon depart cries out: Salud!
To your health! Oh how beautiful to fall to give you flight,
To die to give you life, to die under your sky,
And in your enchanted land eternally sleep.
Mithi ng aking buhay, adhikang nagniningas
Mabuhay! hiyaw ng diwang handa nang maglakbay
O kay timyas pumanaw, tamis ang kamatayan
Upang ika’y mabuhay, maitanghal ka lamang
Sa iyong sinapupunan, malaong hihimlay
Adios kapatid, magulang, kabiyak ng aking diwa
Kababatang kaibigan sa tahanang natangay
Sa nakakahapong araw, salamat at hihimlay na
Adios dayong magiliw, aking sinta’t ligaya
Mga mahal paalam, kapahingahang mamatay
Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.
Goodbye, dear parents, brother and sisters, fragments of my soul,
Childhood friends in the home now lost,
Give thanks that I rest from this wearisome day;
Goodbye, sweet foreigner, my friend, my joy;
Farewell, loved ones, to die is to rest.

(Sorry in advance for the tl;dr--I'm a Comparative Lit major, I've been conditioned to ramble about literature. I seriously could not stop myself.)

This is the version of Mi último adiós that I've really connected with. It never fails to make me tear up when I listen to it.

The Spanish and the Tagalog, to me, evoke different and complementary reactions. Spanish is the language of the birth of Philippine patriotism, and of Rizal, who represents the patriots of the 1890s in most people's minds. It appeals to a sense of history and evokes the idea of a polished, intellectual patriotism. Tagalog is the language of Philippine patriotism today, and of the average Filipino. It yanks at the heartstrings and falls sweetly on the ear of one used to speaking and hearing Tagalog.

(note that both my statements about the roles of Spanish and Tagalog in patriotism are open to dispute: Reynaldo Ileto's Pasyon and Revolution argues for a separate Tagalog-language evolution of Philippine patriotism in the 1800s based on the chanted Passion narratives, and one can argue that Tagalog is actually the language of Manileño hegemony rather than a national language. But that doesn't change my visceral reactions to the two languages!)

As for the English's smaller because I want to emphasize that I'm presenting it as 'subtitles' for comprehension, not as poetry in its own right. My apologies to Mr. Lozada, but despite--or more likely due to--the fact that English is my first language, I've never met an English translation of this poem that I've actually liked. I chose Lozada's because it's the most faithful word-for-word to the Spanish.

The Tagalog translation takes some liberties, but none that I object to. Some are beautiful: "región del sol querida" is translated "lupang hitik sa araw," something like "land rich with sun"--"hitik" is used in the phrases "hitik sa bulaklak" (in full bloom) and "hitik sa bunga" (heavy with fruit). This allusion to plants also fits in with other allusions already present in the stanza, "mustia"/"lanta" (withered/wilted) and "florida"/"mabunga" (flowery/fruitful).

The biggest structural change is to the powerful repetitive structure of "caer por darte vuelo, morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo" (ABC¬A, DBC¬D, ¬DEFG), which it turns into the less structured "O kay timyas pumanaw, tamis ang kamatayan, upang ika’y mabuhay, maitanghal ka lamang" (O what sweetness to die, sweet is death, so that you might live, simply to exalt you) which uses rephrasing and synonyms to produce (ABCD, CED, FG¬D, HGI)
(I'm trying to use "X" and "¬X" to represent opposing concepts, as in "morir" (to die) and "vida" (life). As you may have noticed, I am neither a linguist nor a logician, so please forgive my amateur attempts to diagram these lines! If anyone has a better suggestion please feel free.)

The reversal of the order of the last two stanzas (Tagalog first, then Spanish) is sheer genius. Firstly, ending with the Spanish brings us back to Rizal's own voice. Sencondly, the sound of the last phrase! "Kapahingahang" is exhaled like a sigh, longing for that final rest; "descansar" comes out choppier, a defiant cry proclaiming that in death, his work will be complete.

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