Mujeres Talk: Corrido de Norma Cantú

August 31, 2012, is the last day that renowned Chicana, feminist scholar Dr. Norma E. Cantú will be at the University of Texas, San Antonio’s English Department. To honor her work, Dr. Larissa Mercado-López (one of her former students) led a group of volunteers who organized an amazing mini-symposium on the life and work of Dr. Cantú. Other Chicana scholars and some of Dr. Cantú’s former students presented papers highlighting the multi-faceted aspects of Cantú’s work. As part of the panel on “Chicana Literary Expressions,” David F. García, and Dr. Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz collaborated by writing her a corrido entitled “Destino al andar.” The day closed with an after party at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center co-organized by another one of Dr. Cantú’s former students, Dr. V. June Pedraza, and Dr. Antonia I. Castañeda, Dr. Elsa Cantú Ruiz and another group of volunteers. People visited from all over the country to honor and thank Dr. Norma E. Cantú for all the work, passion and love that she has shared with thousands of people in her communities. This corrido is just a little “regalito” for her. Mil gracias, Norma! De todo corazón.

Written and performed by Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz and David Garcia at UT San Antonio on Friday, August 24.  Video by conference organizer Larissa Mercado-Lopez.

Al empezar a cantar                 As we begin singing
Pedimos permiso ahora          We now ask for your permission
Para rendir homenaje              To pay tribute
A una ilustre doctora.              To an illustrious doctor

Ella es de la frontera                She is from the border
En los dos Laredos criada       Raised in the two Laredos
Chicana de tal carrera              A Chicana with such a career
Por todos muy apreciada        Respected by everyone

Norma Cantú es su nombre    Norma Cantú is her name
Y le vengo a saludar                 And I come here to salute her
Le brindo mi canto alegre      I offer her my happy song
Un regalo musical                   A musical gift

Es persona de renombre         She is a renowned person
Con buen don de la palabra    Gifted with words
Maestra en todo sentido          Knowledgeable in every sense
En cualquier lengua que habla. In any language she speaks

Esta doctora sí cura                 This doctor does cure
Con esa pluma en la mano     With her pen in her hand
Escribe de la cultura                 She writes about
De chicanas y chicanos            Chicana and Chicano cultures

Para ayudar a estudiantes       At working with students
Nunca nadie la mejora             No one can be better
Todos ellos son brillantes        They are all brilliant
Es la ideal profesora                 Because she’s the ideal professor

Escribe nuevas historias          She writes about new (hi)stories
Que hablan del feminismo.     That speak of feminisms
Y con una pluma zurda            And with the left-handed plume
De un pájaro fronterizo           From a borderlands bird

Brindamos a la maestro          We toast our teacher
En el lindo San Antonio           In our beautiful San Antonio
Por la cultura tejana                She continues to give testimony
Sigue dando testimonio          On Chicana/o culture

Al andar se hace el destino     Destiny is created as we walk
Por donde no hubo ni huella  Where there wasn’t a footprint
Peregrina de caminos               Pilgrim of the roads
Yo le saludo, ¡Ultreya!              I salute you, “-Go forth!

Vuela, vuela golondrina         Fly, fly away, swallow
Por el cielo tan azul                 Throughout the deep blue sky
Protege a nuestra madrina     Protect our godmother
La profesora Cantú                   Professor Cantú

¡Viva la Dra. Norma Cantú!    ¡Viva la Dra. Norma Cantú!

Dr. Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz is a professor of Spanish and Transnational Mexican Popular Cultures at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Her book entitled Wild Tongues: Transnational Mexican Popular Culture was published in July 2012 in the UT Press Chicana Matters Series.

David Garcia is a musician/composer of Chicano/Mexican music from northern New Mexico. He is a Queer Xicano/Manito anthropologist who studies popular culture, foodways and the production of public space. Garcia is currently a Ph.D. student in the in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.