In 2000, my grandfather died after a brief but intense struggle with Alzheimer’s. Through odd circumstances I discovered he had written a surprising collection of songs. Written in the later years of his life accompanied by his guitar, he cataloged his work with the intent to share it before his mind wandered off.
The book, The Songs Of My Grandfather, brings these songs together as poetry to pay tribute to the man of his time that he was. The songs are presented in Spanish with an accompanying translation to English.
From the Forward:
I am not musically educated but I love music. My grandfather left these songs typed, numbered and cataloged. He left a list of songs he recorded on tape. I also found some untitled songs and other writings. I gave the untitled songs a name inspired in his words.
Songs 2 through 5 are missing. The titles are listed in his catalog but I did not find these songs. I list them to honor his work. The first piece in this book is a “calavera” written by my mother, my grandfather’s daughter. Calaveras are rhymes that poke fun at death and reflect the character of the loved one no longer in this world. I felt it was a fitting piece to introduce the man and his work.
I would consider my grandfather’s songs to be ballads, romantic pieces in the vein of folk songs recording life from his era. Some of the songs seem quite contemporary. Many of the songs depict life as he knew it in a world of tradition, honor, and more conservative values than today.
This book is a compilation of my grandfather’s songs as poetry. I present them here with my grandmother’s blessing and the expectation to finally read the completed work. My grandfather spoke Spanish and I have translated each song into English to aide those who do not read Spanish.
This is the work of Isauro Mendoza Nava (1912-2000), my beloved grandfather, my “Tito Chencho”.
The book is now available online and will soon be released electronically.