Barquito de Papel – Little Paper Boat

I am joining this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by epic author Jim Adams.  Please see note at the end.

In my previous post, I showed a paper craft that kids may wear as headgear.  There is also that old-fashioned folded hat that works well as a paper boat, those that many kids used to make with a piece of newspaper, or a page from a notebook, and then place in a puddle after a rain shower or in a pond, as in the song Barquito de papel – Little Paper Boat.  This song appeared in the 1971 LP album Mediterráneo by Spanish singer and song writer Joan Manuel Serrat, considered one of the most influential artists in 20th century pop music, both in Spanish  and Catalan languages.  

Joan Manuel Serrat i Teresa began singing with a group of friends in College in his natal Barcelona, covering songs by The Beatles and Italian pop bands popular with the teens in the 1960s.  He became known first in Spain, for promoting the Catalan language through his songs in the mid 1960s; his career took off internationally in 1969, after releasing albums in Spanish, which included music that he composed, with lyrics of famous poet Antonio Machado.  Serrat was briefly exiled in Mexico for part of 1974 and until the end of 1975, due to his opposition to capital punishment and other policies during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.  After Franco’s death in November of 1975, his forced soujourn ended, and Serrat was able to return to Spain. Serrat has found ways to expand his international popularity, such as with tours in Latin America, and some parts of the US, such as New York, and he has continued to tour until very recently, with some breaks for health reasons.  Serrat’s most recent album En Bellas Artes (2015) is a compilation of songs interpreted at Mexico City’s Fine Arts Palace (pictured, below), and a tribute to his close relationship with Mexico over the decades.

Barquito de Papel – Little Paper Boat

Music and lyrics by Joan Manuel Serrat

© Universal Music Publishing Mgb Spain S.a

Barquito de papel
Sin nombre, sin patrón y sin bandera
Navegando sin timón
Donde la corriente quiera

Aventurero audaz
Jinete de papel cuadriculado
Que mi mano sin pasado
Sentó a lomos de un canal

Cuando el canal era un río
Cuando el estanque era el mar y navegar
Era jugar con el viento
Era una sonrisa a tiempo fugándose feliz de país en país

Entre la escuela y mi casa
Después, el tiempo pasa
Y te olvidas de aquel
Barquito de papel

Barquito de papel
En qué extraño arenal han varado
Tu sonrisa y mi pasado
Vestidos de collegial

Cuando el canal era un río
Cuando el estanque era el mar y navegar
Era jugar con el viento
Era una sonrisa a tiempo …

(Lyrics in English are my own translation) 

Little paper boat
Without a name, pattern or a flag
Navigating with no helm
Wherever the stream might choose

Bold adventurer
Graph-paper rider
That my hand with no past
Sat on a channel’s back

When the channel was a river
When the pond was the sea, and navigating
Meant to play with the wind
A timely smile, happily running away from country to country

Between school and home
Then, time passes by
And you forget that
Little paper boat

Little paper boat
On which unknown sandbank have stranded
Your smile and my past
Dressed in school uniform

When the channel was a river
When the pond was the sea, and navigating
Meant to play with the wind
A timely smile … 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a Boy Band as “a small ensemble of males in their teens or twenties who play pop songs geared especially to a young female audience.”  With this very general definition in mind, many pop and rock bands from the 1960s might fall into the category, and in some cases, it has even included The Beatles, especially since their early following was composed primarily of teenage girls, shouting and squiggling in their seats.  Although nobody would place or could imagine Joan Manuel Serrat (or later-years The Beatles, for that matter) as a member of a 1970s to modern-day Boy Band (namely The Osmonds, The Jackson 5, Puerto Rico’s Menudo, ‘N Sync, or the innumerable K-Pop bands), the origin of his public music performances was with a band of College friends covering songs by The Beatles and popular Italian pop bands, and he was still under 20 years of age. Like The Beatles, Serrat did not dance during these performances, he plays an instrument, and he has composed most of his music, so I concede that the classification is a massive and convoluted stretch, but I really wanted to join this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, with the theme BOY BANDS.  


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