My Late Night, Pre-Electoral Salvadoran Drug of Choice: Sombrero Azul

March 15, 2009

After a long day of reporting, running around and drinking Cuban rum into the night with friends, I was tired, overcoming dire sickness and left no choice but to resort to my drug of choice here in El Salvador: El Sombrero Azul (the Blue Hat), one of the anthems of the Salvadoran struggle, which will reach its most recent culmination within hours. Written by the great Ali Primera of Venezuela in the 1980’s, Sombrero Azul is a pretty simple tune sung by a man and his guitar.

But as you will see and hear from this video recorded in 1983 at the Concierto por la paz en centroamerica in Managua the song captures one of the most awsome force forces I know – yes, the Revolutionary spirit, I said it – a spirit, that 150 years of military dictatorships (many of which were backed by Republicans and Democratic US Presidents), hundreds of thousands of slaughtered innocents and millions of exploited people could not silence. That’s the stuff that’s cleaning the smoggy air, the polluted water and violent culture engendered by oligarchic-military rule; Same stuff that’s got me coming out of sickness and tiredness to work even harder.

Am too run down to communicate what it feels like, but, fortunately, I found this song we used to sing in the previous period. Try breathing deeply, following the lyrics (in video and below), let them take hold in your lungs and chest and lift up your left arm and sing “Dale”when Ali signals and I guarantee that you too will be transported here by the music of this hairy, hippy-looking, beautiful revolutionary troubador of a man who makes many of us cry from inspiration.

Dale Salvadoreno!

Sombrero Azul

El pueblo salvadoreño
tiene el cielo por sombrero
tan alta es su dignidad
en la búsqueda del tiempo
en que florezca la tierra
por los que han ido cayendo
y que venga la alegría
a lavar el sufrimiento

Dale que la marcha es lenta
pero sigue siendo marcha
dale que empujando al sol
se acerca la madrugada
dale que la lucha tuya
es pura como una muchacha
cuando se entrega al amor
con el alma liberada

Dale salvadoreño, dale
que no hay pájaro pequeño, dale
que después de alzar el vuelo, dale
[ Find more Lyrics on ]
se dentenga en su volar (bis)

Al verde que yo le canto
es el color de tus maizales
no al verde de las boinas
de matanzas tropicales
las que fueron al Vietnam
a quemar los arrozales
y andan por estas tierras
como andar por sus corrales
dale salvadoreño…

Hermano salvadoreño
viva tu sombrero azul
dale que tu limpia sangre
germinará sobre el mar
y será una enorme rosa
de amor por la humanidad
hermano salvadoreño
viva tu sombrero azil

Tendrán que llenar al mundo
con masacres de Sumpul
para quitarte las ganas
del amor que tienes tú

Dale salvadoreño..

4 Responses to “My Late Night, Pre-Electoral Salvadoran Drug of Choice: Sombrero Azul”

  1. Marita Mia Komoska Says:

    Roberto –

    Thank you for posting this and for your comments in your blog!!! This video brought me back to El Salvador tonight, where I needed to be!

    En solidaridad,


  2. George Says:

    I was just listening to one of the CDs that I bought in San Salvador and was curious about the history of “sombrero azul” so I googled the phrase and came up with your blog. Thanks so much! Serving as an international observer for Sunday’s historic election was one of the greatest experiences in my life.

  3. DrMartin Says:

    Great!!… this is a representative song for my people of “El Salvador”

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