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Medellín, Colombia. | Photo: Matěj Ptaszek
Medellín, Colombia. | Photo: Matěj Ptaszek
Matěj Ptaszek -

Songs Written with a Machete #15: When a Murderer Shaves Your Neck with a Razor

I spent eighteen months of my three-year South American adventure in the Colombian wilderness, in a mountain village near the infamous Medellín. As a bluesman, I was impressed by local songs, whose lyrics would wake up even Oblomov from his lethargy. I decided to translate the juiciest pieces and bring them to you in the series Songs Written with a Machete.

"Here, even a multiple sicario smiles at you," my playmate Candelo once told me after I had praised the kindness of the paisas, the inhabitants of Medellín. And he was right. There was an elderly street barber in the Colombian metropolis who, with a smile on his lips, always put a razor to my throat and proceeded to shave my three-day stubble to the tune of his heartbreaking songs. I wondered why, in casual conversation, he completely left out his youth and stuck strictly to his life of the last eight years.

I later learned that he was a former hitman who had served his time and decided to take a different path. To this day, when I think about it, I don't get a chill down my spine, but down my throat. His favourite song to sing was "Sigue Feliz" (translated as "Be Happy") by Alonso and Bernardo, whose sweet melancholy makes your soul pleasantly sore.

Sigue Feliz

You poured inside me all the hate that was in your chest
Without knowing that you made my heart suffer
I'll leave now without saying goodbye, everything is undone
And I'll give up, but you'll pay for what you've done to me

I will leave you the heart
That I gave you one day
I'm leaving with my pain
I don't know if I'll come back
When I'm far away
You'll cry for my absence
Because you will understand how much I loved you

I'll always live with my loneliness, bitter and sad
I won't hold a grudge for your deceit and what you did to me
Stay happy,  I'll never go back to you again
But if another love should make you suffer, I'll be your friend

By the way, the assassin's favourite song was also loved by Pablo Escobar.

Tagy Songs Written With a Machete Medellín

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Matěj Ptaszek