Monday, May 19, 2008

Santa Maria Ven

I was somewhat blown away to hear a very familiar hymn today. It's sung all the time in India, though this was the first time I'd heard it in the US. Except, it was in Spanish.

The refrain in English goes like this:
Be with us Mary along the way
guide every step we take.
Lead us to Jesus your loving Son!
Come with us Mary, come.
The Spanish version:
Ven con nosotros a caminar
¡Santa Maria ven! (x2)
Here's a Youtube video of the Spanish hymn, being sung in a Marian procession. Quite cool.



This isn't the first hymn that I've encountered that's sung in American Spanish circles, as well as in India, but not in (Anglo) America. Ok, I've heard one other. Two isn't much of a statistical sample at all, but I find myself wondering, how, in some respects, the post-reform vernacular hymnody of central America and India show some similarities, which seem not to be shared by the US.

I couldn't find anything on YouTube for the English version. However, Googling around, I came across this sample from OCP. Same words, different melody, sung by Tom Booth and Jenny Pixler. The hymn is attributed to Mother Teresa. Which is totally cool. I need to ask my friends back in India if the "traditional" version is known to be composed by Mother Teresa, because I'd never heard of this attribution at all.

And though I find a lot of liturgical music in India to be well, less than ideal ... this hymn is one of my favorites. It was also sung at my baptism (which was on the Feast of the Assumption, in 1994).

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