Two Psalms for Times of Violence

Dos Salmos para Tiempos de Violencia

I wrote this song for a student’s retreat in Aguilares, El Salvador. It is inspired by Psalms 120 & 121, and it will appear in GIA’s upcoming bilingual hymnal, ” Santo, Santo, Santo”, “Holy, Holy, Holy: Songs for the People of God.”

Escribí este canto para un campamento de estudiantes en Aguijares, El Salvador. Está inspirado en los Salmos 120 y 121. Aparecerá en el himnario “Santo, Santo, Santo: Cantos para el pueblo de Dios” de próxima publicación bajo el sello de GIA Music.

I start slow the song slow in Spanish, and then we transition to a faster tempo. I use  Cumbia rhythms, and elements of Puerto Rican plena. This was presented at Baylor’s Alleluia conference on July 20, 2018.

Lyrics/ Letra: Al Señor clamé estando en angustia, y él me respondió.                                                 Líbrame del labio mentiroso, y lenguas embusteras.                                                            Ay de mí! Que habito entre gente violenta;  Ay de mí! Que habito entre tanta maldad.

Quiero paz, pero ellos solo hablan de guerra.  Ven, Señor,  Ven, ven y dános tu paz. 

(English Tr. by Greg Scheer)

I am crying out to God in my anguish, and he will hear my prayer.                                                 Deliver me from lying lips, Oh save me, from tongues that are deceitful.                        

Woe is me! For I live in a land  full of violence;                                                                                    Woe is me! For I dwell among those who hate peace.          

I’m for peace, but they say only war is the answer. Woe is me! For I dwell among those who hate peace.  I’m for peace, but they say only war is the answer.                                                                 Come, O Lord!  Come and give us your peace.



Spreading Peace and Hope Through Music in El Salvador

For about 10 years, I have partnered with Neftali Valiente in a music education program in El Salvador. This program includes participating in liturgy, music lessons, and music camps or retreats by both local and visiting musicians and church groups. We have worked with more than 25 young people, none of whom have joined a gang, and most of whom are going to college–including one who is graduating as a medical doctor!

We have decided to expand this program in El Salvador to a couple more locations. There we will provide faith-based music education, grounded in the virtues and the Gospel of Peace.  We will intentionally instill a culture of nonviolence and generosity in our children, encouraging them to be kind with others and not to withhold their talents and resources.

We want to help the current immigration crisis by providing opportunities in El Salvador. Our passion is to create programs in El Salvador to empower our people so they do NOT have to leave their country. In the upcoming days, I will share with you about  forming young people in El Salvador in the arts, music, and a culture of peace.

Please contact me if you would like to hear about ways you can help us alleviate the immigrant crisis by reaching children through music and the Gospel.

Thank you for your help and goodwill as you help immigrants in the USA. Please continue to do so as God enables you to alleviate suffering here at our borders.

Maestro Neftalí Valiente with some of his students.