“It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile, Be yourself no matter what they say”
-Englishman In New York, Sting
TheSpanishVersion is a celebration of the value added to ideas that are allowed to
flow across cultures. Consider for instance the development of Italian cuisine.
We have all heard the apocryphal story of Marco Polo bringing pasta back to Italy
after his travels to Asia. Although not as common a story, but better documented,
is the fact that the Conquistador Hernan Cortez brought tomatoes to Europe from Mexico.
Cortez’s tomatoes opened the door for the development of the ubiquitous red sauce
that now can be found at kitschy Italian restaurant’s around the globe (here is looking
at you Olive Garden!). The pre-colombian cultures of North America could never have
imagined how tomatoes would be used in Europe. Absent outside influences, Italian
cuisine would not be what it is today. This is also true of music.
Music, like food,
often develops and morphs as it passes from one group of people to another. The evolution
of a particular song can often happen in unlikely and unpredictable ways. An example
of a song that has resonated across cultures in ways never anticipated by the original
artist is the song “An Englishman in New York,” by Sting.
“An Englishman in New York,”
began life humbly. In 1988, it was released as a “b” side single opposite “Ghost
in the Strand.” Over time the song began to gain a following among people who could
relate to the song’s empathic take on an outsider’s struggle to fit into a foreign
culture. In 1990, the song was released again, and became a modest commercial success,
climbing as high as number 15 on the U.K. charts. The song continues to be adopted
and modified by many different groups. Below is a list of links to illustrate how
this single song has evolved. -John Juan Coyote
One Song’s Ability to Resonate with Many Different Groups