One of the Spanish songs we sing in class this season, “Ay Carmela,” takes us back to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The war was an epic battle between the Republicans, composed of a spectrum of Spaniards from moderates to leftists to far leftists, including Anarchists, and the Nationalists – conservatives in coalition with Fascists. After three years of intense fighting the Nationalists emerged victorious, thrusting their leading General, Francisco Franco, into power. Franco and the Fascists ruled Spain until 1975. “Ay Carmela” references one of the main battles of the war and oozes passion and optimism:
“But their bombs can do nothing, Rumba la rumba la rumba la!
Where there is still heart left! Ay Carmela, ay Carmela!
Even as we fight, Rumba la rumba la rumba la!
We promise to resist them! Ay Carmela, ay Carmela!”
Sadly, Spain had to resist for 35 years after the war to achieve freedom.