Paul Baker Hernandez long ago was a Trappist monk who left the order to become an activist in the solidarity movement that protected the people of Central America from the covert wars aimed against them by the United States. I met Paul in Los Angeles in the 1990s through my involvement in the topical songwriters' group Songs for Social Change. Shortly thereafter, Paul moved to Nicaragua, where he founded a community of artists and musicians called Echoes of Silence, with which he lives and works to this day on a number of very poetic and practical cultural and social reconstruction projects (see http://echoesofsilence.pbwiki.com/
for a list of these endeavors).
Paul has an intimate knowledge and appreciation of the work of Victor Jara, the songwriter and performer who was martyred by the Chilean military during the coup against Salvador Allende. He performs Victor's songs in both their original Spanish and also in English; many of the translations are by Paul himself. Paul's resonant voice and guitar are deeply ingrained in the cultural traditions of the movements for Latin American liberation. To hear Paul's music, please visit http://www.myspace.com/paulbakerhernandez
Now that Latin America is struggling out from under the heel of its Northern neighbor as the U.S. unravels, Paul is touring the United States to spread the sense of true community from those reviving areas back to the empire that once controlled them. As the U.S. descends into poverty and crisis, a community that has created something from nothing has much to teach a people who are ending up with nothing after starting out with quite a lot. As Victor Jara wrote in his song "My Personal Revenge:"
My personal revenge will be to tell you good morning /
On a street without beggars or homeless /
When instead of jailing you I suggest /
You shake away the sadness there that blinds you /
And when you who have applied your hands in torture /
Are unable to look up at what surrounds you /
My personal revenge will be to give you /
These hands that once you so mistreated /
But have failed to take away their tenderness
Paul will be performing and speaking:
Sunday, September 28th at 9:30pm
Sante La Brea
a restaurant and performance space at
345 N. La Brea Ave
(1/2 block north of Beverly, on the west side of La Brea)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
The performance is open to the public without charge.
Contributions may be made, if desired, to the Echoes of Silence community,
either at the event or by mail. For information on the community and its
projects, and for information on how to contribute, please see: http://echoesofsilence.pbwiki.com/