Great Trova Yucateca Musicians #1

I am learning, and writing, about great Trova Yucateca musicians in this next series of posts whilst we are in preparation to record the 10th audio demo for The Mapmaker’s Opera, adapted from the novel by Béa Gonzalez.

I’ve gone back to the rich vein of Mexican music that comes from the Yucatán peninsula, as a couple of the remaining songs in the show still to be composed, borrow from this wonderful musical milieu.

This series of posts, over a course of weeks, is going to include: Pastor Cervera, Armando Manzanero, Cirilo Baqueiro Preve “Chancil”, Ermilo Padron Lopez, Juan Acereto as well as the subject of today’s blog: Ricardo Palmerin.

Ricardo Palmerín (April 3, 1887 – January 30, 1944) was a musician and composer who, at one point in his life, lived in Mérida. Although he attended medical school, music became his true calling. With scores of songs to his credit, he is probably best known in México for his song ‘Peregrina’ (‘Pilgrim’). According to what I can make out from my very poor knowledge of Spanish (and with a lot of help from Google Translate!) is that this song was written at the behest of the Governor of the Yucatán region, Felipe Carillo Puerto, when entertaining the New York Times reporter, Alma Reed, when she visited the region to collect stories about archeological sites on the peninsula (elsewhere referred to as a “fleeting, platonic relationship”). The poet, Luis Rosado Vega subsequently asked his friend to put music to his words.

For reasons, I haven’t yet discovered, Governor Puerto was shot in Mérida in 1924.

What is fascinating from undertaking this very cursory research about a clearly much-loved Mexican musician, is how little information (especially in English) is easily available on the Internet. At the very least, Ricardo Palmerin is a very fine songwriter.

The film clip with ‘Peregrina’ – as an overlayed soundtrack – is performed by Jorge Negrete with excerpts from the period Mexican film, The Rebel (Romance of Yesteryear). I chose this rendition as it is stylistically consistent with the ‘trova’ style of accompaniment, as opposed to the overblown, contemporary orchestration sung by the great Placido Domingo performing at Chichen Itza in 2008 (also available on YouTube).

Hope you enjoy it.