STJ#1047, Nada Te Turbe

We have just entered my favorite section of Singing the Journey: the spot where instead of spreading them out, we get a series of Taizé songs all together.

It’s my favorite section, although individually they’re not all on my list of favorites – not that any of them are bad, but some are beloved more than others. It’s like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours; there isn’t a bad song on the album (which has to be on most top ten lists), but I like “Songbird” a lot more than “Oh Daddy.”

But I digress. This song is so reassuring in its lyrics and melody; instead of the questioning of When I Am Frightened or the joyful affirmation of Trouble Won’t Last Always (not one of our hymns but wow I am glad I know it and you should go listen to it if you need a little joy, or just want to imagine some UU ministers-in-formation singing the heck out of it in seminary), this one is like a parent holding a scared child, or a reassuring hand while receiving a diagnosis, or the timely snuggle from a purring cat.

Or, as the song suggests, a sense of presence of the Divine, the Mystery, God.

Nada te turbe, nada te espante,
quien a Dios tiene nada le falta.
Nada te turbe, nada te espante,
Sólo Dios basta.

Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten.
Those that seek God shall never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.

Sung in repetition, harmonies emerging naturally, languages mixing, that is the power and beauty of this song and of all Taizé. I for one am grateful for the inclusion of these songs.

One Comment

  1. This is a favorite of many for some good reasons. But the last two measures of this tune have never seemed to work too well for me, although it’s certainly not my business to re-write Berthier’s tune. It has something to do with how the tune lies in the voice, and, given that general tessitura, where in the range the voice sits at the end. Maybe it’s just me (in happens to be a funny place in some tenor voices). Also, a side issue, but related because it’s also at the end: “basta” is nicer to sing than “fills us” (the rest of the English works pretty well). Sometimes translating is just too hard!

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