Obsesión — Español-English

Pedro Flores (March 9, 1894 – July 14, 1979) was one Puerto Rico’s best known composers of ballads and boleros. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Flores_%28composer%29

Pedro Flores’ song “Obsesión” was written before 1935, the date of its recording for Columbia Records. This is a male’s love song in the ancient tradition of declaring love and pledging fidelity by showing passion, “obsession,” in an effort to win the affections of a wisely playing-hard-to-get female. Such songs come out of times and cultures where decorum was expected and practiced, so the obsession being displayed here was understood to be only a sincere amorous expression that was uninhibited in relation to antique social norms. It was not intended to be anything like the psychotic behaviors we are now accustomed to seeing erupt unhappily, and too often, in our mad modern hyperactive inattentive mind-numbed zeitgeist. “Obsesión” soon became very popular and many women singers, also, have made it their own since its early years. This song translation is poetic, not literal.

Obsesión
(Pedro Flores, letras según la grabación de “Como Es El Amor” por Panchito Riset y Daniel Sanchez con Pedro Flores, 1935)

—> (instrumental)

Por alto está el cielo en el mundo,
por hondo que sea el mar profundo,
no habrá una barrera en el mundo
que un amor profundo
no pueda rompér.

Amor es el pan de la vida,
amor es la copa divina,
amor es un algo sin nombre
que obsesiona a un hombre
con una mujér.

Yo estoy obsesionado contigo
y el mundo es testigo
de mí frenesí,
y por más que se oponga el destino
serás para mí(ííí). (1)

Por alto está el cielo en el mundo,
por hondo que sea el mar profundo,
no habrá una barrera en el mundo
que un amor profundo
no rompa por tí.

—> (instrumental)

Yo estoy obsesionado contigo
y el mundo es testigo
de mí frenesí,
y por más que se oponga el destino
serás para mí(ííí). (1)

Por alto está el cielo en el mundo,
por hondo que sea el mar profundo,
no habrá una barrera en el mundo
que un amor profundo
no – rompa – por – tí(ííí). (2)
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1. se extiende el “í” de “mí.”

2. Rallentando, se extiende el “í” de “tí.”

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Obsession
(Pedro Flores, lyrics following the recording of “How Love Is” by Panchito Riset and Daniel Sanchez with Pedro Flores, 1935)

—> (instrumental)

As high as the sky is above us,
as deep as the ocean’s cold darkness,
never will barriers between us
stand fast against my focus
unbroken by love.

Love’s the bread of every soul’s lifetime,
love’s the cup of fulfillment divine,
for love is that something so nameless,
a swirling where one man obsesses
on one woman’s love.

I am so completely obsessed to love you,
this world is just background in view
of my frenzied mind,
and even if destiny opposes, it’s true
you have to be mine –. (3)

As high as the sky is above us,
as deep as the ocean’s cold darkness,
never will barriers between us
stand fast against my focus,
I’ll break them in time.

—> (instrumental)

I am so completely obsessed to love you,
this world is just background in view
of my frenzied mind,
and even if destiny opposes, it’s true
you have to be mine –. (3)

As high as the sky is above us,
as deep as the ocean’s cold darkness,
never will barriers between us
stand fast against my focus,
I’ll – break – them – in – time –. (4)

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3. The “i” of “mine” is extended.

4. Rallentando, the “i” of “time” is extended.

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Panchito Riset y Daniel Sanchez con Pedro Flores – Como Es El Amor (Obsesión)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irCHKQ7_7js
[The original, the year is 1935, music from Puerto Rico.]

Barrio Boyzz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o0VGhLO7ws
[Jazz a cappella quartet in concert; both crisp and honeyed. 1996]

Suzzette Ortiz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b7CjaM9W44
[Suzzette plays the piano and sings, both with great sensitivity; live. A touching performance giving the song a woman’s voice. 2010.]

Daniel Santos & La Sonora Matancera
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DZ5zNjmskI
[Puerto Rico’s great singer with Cuba’s great band, a recording from probably the late 1940s.]

The Latin Jazz Coalition
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrR0ewYYiUI
[A Latin Jazz band in a live outdoor performance in Queens, New York City; the Afro-Cuban Currents Concert, 2006.]

Irene Atienza & Douglas Lora
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUBFv9kaJUU
[A Brazilian duo perform live; Irene sings, Douglas plays classical guitar. Intimate and nice. “Amor es un tango sin nombre que obsesiona un hombre por una mujér.” 2013.]

Beny More y Pedro Vargas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQOtcuNb2pg
[A duet with Beny More and Pedro Vargas. 1950s.]

Konnoduo+nao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTZ32zUF-Bg
[Japanese instrumental trio: flute, guitar, conga; wonderful live performance. 2010.]

Virginia Lopez y Trio Imperio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpmYJatUY1E
[Light soprano voice of the 1950s, very atmospheric of its time. Virginia, a Puertorriqueña, was born in New York City’s West Side.]

Guasabara Cuarteto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAU1iVIS8NE
[Potent Puerto Rican jazz combo and singer propel this bolero through their own extended and modernized version; studio live. 2013.]

Placido Domingo & Maggie Carles – Perdon & Obsesión
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfX5z1k43mg
[A medley of “Perdon” and “Obsesión” as duets in concert; big voices. “Obsesión” begins at 3:33. 2009.]

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