Anthem of the Taíno Resurgence: Naboria Daca Ae Mayanimacaná

What might be called the unofficial “anthem” of the Taíno indigenous resurgence is the beautiful, moving song by Juan Luis Guerra of the Dominican Republic, sung in the Taíno language, titled Naboria Daca Ae Mayanimacaná. The song comes from his 1992 album, Areito, which refers to Taíno dance, an album that featured a number of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist hits, earning it the distinction of being banned in several countries that were fearful of publicizing music with allegedly “anti-American” messages (just in case there was anyone left who still maintained the illusion that empire and democracy can go hand in hand).

The words (courtesy of Guacara Dreamtime) follow the song, I added the English translation in place of the Spanish translation.


Taíno lyrics:

Naboria daca ae
mayanimacaná
naboria daca
guaitiao
mayanimacaná
naboria daca eo

Naboria daca ae
naboria daca eo
a mayanimacaná
naboria daca ae
naboria daca eo
a mayanimacaná
naboria daca ae
naboria daca eo

naboria daca eo
naboria daca eo
mayani mayanimacaná
naboria daca eo
naboria daca eo

Calichi
guarico guakía
calichi
guariquén
machichi
mayanimacaná
machichi
yu
peiti
ris
Naboria daca, mayanimacaná, mayanimacaná,
mayanimacaná!
naboria daca eo

machichi
mayanimacaná
machichi
yu
peiti
ris
Naboria daca, mayanimacaná, mayanimacaná,
mayanimacaná!
naboria daca eo

English lyrics:

I am a servant
don’t kill me
I am a servant
your blood brother
don’t kill me
I am a servant
I am a servant
don’t kill me
I am a servant
Stream from the high mounatin
Come to us
Stream from the high mounatin
Look, come and see
my heart
don’t kill me
my heart
white
black
red
I am a servant
don’t kill me,
don’t kill me
don’t kill me!

8 thoughts on “Anthem of the Taíno Resurgence: Naboria Daca Ae Mayanimacaná

  1. The translation of the song is provided below the video. How one can interpret the song is something open to each of us. I don’t know that there is any one “correct” interpretation of it. What did it mean to you?

  2. This is a great song, but which “several countries” banned the Areito album?? I don’t recall the whole album being banned; I thought it was just the video of one song (‘El Costo de la vida’) in the Dominican Republic.

    By the way, I don’t think it’s fair to single out the U.S. — it was the Europeans who colonized the Americas in the first place, which is largely what Mr. Guerra was critiquing in his 1992 album (the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the Americas).

  3. Good points. I don’t know if it was the whole album that was banned, and I think what you say here is probably what the case actually was. You’re right of course, about losing sight of Europe.

  4. I know Juan Luis personally and was present during the recording of this album among others. His intention was both a critique of the brutal aspects of the colonization of Latin America (remember, Dominican Republic is part of the island of Hispaniola “discovered’ in 1492). This album was released in time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage (as stated by P. Gonzalez) but was also a critique of the continuing abuse of 3rd world countries (specifically Latin America) by 1st world countries including but not limited to the U.S. — for allusions to this, listen to the lyrics of the track “El Costo de La Vida” and “Si Saliera Petreleo” on the same album, “Areito”.

    It was at this time that rumors (unfounded & untrue) were spread that Juan Luis was a communist, especially when he partnered back then in concert with Cuban singer/songwriter Sylvio Rodriguez in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. The entire album of “Areito was considered by many in the music industry to be a commercial disappointment and even potentially destructive for Juan Luis’ musical career because it was “too personal” (i.e. read that as “politically incorrect”). He followed this with the more commercial “Fogarate” which although a commercial success by Latin American music standards was not the global success of “Bachata Rosa”. After a 4 year absence, Juan Luis released “El Niagra en Bicleta” as the first single of his “comeback” album, “Ni es lo mismo, Ni es igual.” (There was great significance to that title.) We debated a great deal whether or not to make this the first single because of the song’s critique of the Dominican healthcare system but apparently Dominicans could only agree with Juan Luis’ presentation of it and the rest of the world couldn’t care less – it didn’t (doesn’t) touch them.

    Naboria Daca(and the You tube video with song) should be used in history classes so that a complete picture of the colonization of the Americas is presented to U.S. students. They should be made aware of and conscientized of the massacre of the Tainos and continued oppression of Latin America. We focus so often on African slavery and the Holocaust (with due need and respect I maintain) but tend to obviate this portion of American history. The goal would NOT be to create divisiveness and hatred which would only undermine the death of the thousands of Tainos, but to bring to life the words Juan Luis utilizes in his song…(paraphrased) we are all servants and blood brothers, let us not kill one another.

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