From  here

I am looking straight at you

Face to face Eye to eye

Yet I cannot tell you

What my heart feels

I wish I were a little bird

With little cotton feet

So that I could go to your bed

and cuddle your heart.

Caramba! But caramba!

I am dying for you.

I spend the night thinking

I spend the night dreaming.

When the barley is born

It is born leaf by leaf

And that is how our love was born

Word by little word.

San Pedro Dancer, Tabacundo, July 29, 2010

Photographed by Tod Swanson

Love Songs to Cause Rain:  Coplas de San Pedro de Cayambe 1 2

Picalqui, Provincia de Pichincha, Ecuador

Recorded and translated by Tod Swanson 2011  

“They... went to the peak to dance when it didn't rain.  Let me tell you something. Now a days they don't make the fiesta.  Always since I [can remember], since [the days of] my father.  Every year they made the fiesta.  On San Pedro they used to make the fiesta.  Holy Week pascua they used to do the fiesta, the fifth of September the same.  And the rain storms never failed, you see? They never failed.”  Llano Grande,  Recorded in 1989

Throughout the Andean region the June fiestas were held to bring rain.   Human love, especially unrequited sexual desire on a large scale, was believed to arouse the mountains resulting in rain. For this reason the fiestas featured large numbers of dance groups with choruses of men and women who sang erotic lyrics to each other.   The mountains felt this contagious desire and responded with rain.  Here I present a collection of these coplas which I have recorded from the Fiesta of San Pedro in the Tabacundo area of the Ecuadorian Andes.  Although they are sung by communities who self identify as Kichwa the songs are now mostly sung in Spanish.  I have therefore recorded them in Spanish and translated them into English.

Desde aquí yo te estoy viendo

cara a cara frente a frente

Pero no puedo decirte

lo que mi corazón siente.

Quisiera ser pajarito

con patitas de algodon

para irme a tu cama

y arullarte el corazon.

Caramba pero caramba

muriendo estoy por vos

el día paso pensando

la noche paso soñando.

La cebada cuando nace

Nace hojita por hojita

Y así nació nuestro amor

Palabra por palabrita!.

Andes and Amazon Field School