The idealistic appeal of "fighting the good fight" against the fascist troops of General Francisco Franco as he warred against Spain's democratically elected government drew more than 45,000 volunteer soldiers from over 50 countries during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). This influx created a canon of war-related songs sung by the freedom fighters and revived during the American folk boom of the Fifties.
"Spain in My Heart" presents new recordings of vintage and recent songs inspired by the conflict and performed by an international roster of musicians. The United States is represented by folk's activist icon, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, master instrumentalist/ vocalist John McCutcheon, bluegrass singer/fiddler Laurie Lewis, East L.A.'s Quetzal, multicultural singer/songwriter/actress Michele Greene, and Joel and Jamaica Rafael of the Joel Rafael Band. From Mexico and Nicaragua come vocalist Lila Downs and Duo Guardabarranco, respectively. The Irish volunteers are solo artist Aoife Clancy, formerly of Cherish the Ladies, and Shay Black of The Black Family. Spain itself is represented by two of its leading contemporary singers, Eliseo Parra and Uxía.
The songs here, acoustic-based and many in Spanish, form a surprisingly delicate mosaic. Rather than emulating the strident chaos of battle, the CD conveys more subtle aspects of the conflict - yearning for simpler times ("Asturias," "En La Plaza De Mi Pueblo"); longing for distant loved ones ("The Bantry Girls' Lament"); the equal significance of life, love and death ("Llegó Con Tres Heridas"). The war and the bravery of the anti-fascist forces are addressed in such songs as "Jarama Valley," "El Quinto Regimiento," "Taste of Ashes," and "The Abraham Lincoln Brigade."
No matter in what language the songs are performed, the bravery, pain and loss felt by soldiers and civilians alike are rendered with a conviction and feeling that transcends words and forges an aching link with the listener.