Pasar la Vida (Hymn To Life)


Based on a poem by Jorge Mansilla, “Pasar la Vida” explores the themes of exile, travel, and home.



Composer’s Notes:

The poem Pasar La Vida (Hymn to Life) was written by Jorge Mansilla, aka Coco Manto.  Mansilla, originally from Bolivia, has lived in exile in Mexico for almost 30 years, and was formally Bolivian ambassador to Mexico.  Because of his long exile out of his country the poem offers an internal and external perspective that is completely different from what we who have lived in our own country (and not in exile) have experienced.
The poem is about motion:  Trashumante (Nomad Shepherd) on the move to new pastures and follows on as a Caminante (Walker), Navegante (Sailor) and Inmigrante (Immigrant).  The first four stanzas develop a beautiful image of what motion means in each case, each stanza concluding with a sentence that captures this idea with a solo line.
The final stanza summarizes, in short sentences, all the moments of the poem integrating Militante de la vida (Militant of life), letting the piece conclude – after mentioning the immigrants – an idea of being part of this world…no matter what…no matter how. — Jorge Cózatl



Pasar La Vida

Soy muchedumbre y soy uno
Cuando camino adelante
O atrás en busca del humo
De la utopía ambulante.
Tengo el destino sellado:

El abanico del mundo
Se abre tentador fragante
Al sedentario fecundo
Y al nómada rutilante
Peregrino consagrado:

El cielo y el mar rotundos
Se ofrecen al que es amante
De lo que encuentra en el rumbo
De la aventura campante:
Quién le quita lo viajado:

Y el que camina sin rumbo
Y vive siempre el instante
Porque es todos y ninguno
Por una ley infamante…
Es ilegal remarcado:

Caminante trashumante
Que no olvida
Inmigrante navegante
Vieja herida
Habitante militante
De la vida.
    — Jorge Mansilla Torees (Coco Manto)

I am a crowd and I am one
When I walk forward
Or behind in search of the smoke
Of the ambulant utopia.
Sealed destination I have:
Wandering shepherd.

The fan of the world
Fragrant tempter opens
To the sedentary fertile
And to the shining nomad
Consecrated pilgrim:

Resounding sky and sea
Offer themselves to the one who is a lover
Of what is found thru the course
Of the wandering adventure:
No one takes away what he has traveled:

And the one who walks without course
And lives always that moment
Because it is all and none at the same time
By a defamatory law…
He is branded illegal:

Wandering shepherd
That he does not forget
Immigrant sailor
Old wound
Militant inhabitant
Of the life.

Additional information

Year Composed

Date of Premiere