Earlier this year, Coca Tenorio, a musician from Ecuador, had a phone conversation with our editor in chief, Sonja, about her song ‘Niebla Verde’ (Green Mist in English) that she wrote 2004, and was included in her debut album ‘Todo Transito’ (2009).
Coca grew up in the remote coastal villages of Esmeraldas – a region of Ecuador known for its strong Afro-Ecuadorian culture and history. She has now lived in Scotland for over 20 years with her husband Ben, who she met in Ecuador when he was working on marine conservation projects.
Soon after Coca left Ecuador in 1999, the country abandoned the use of their domestic currency and adopted the US Dollar as their legal tender in order to help the country’s economy during a time of crisis (you can read more about this in Sonja’s article here). In this song, Coca gives a sense of what the effects of this dollarization (which she refers to as ‘green mist’ in her song) has had on her country from her perspective as someone who left Ecuador before dollarization and then returned years later to find her country much changed.
Coca told Sonja that when she returned to Ecuador she noticed an increase in polarisation and that society has changed significantly. Coca explained that she feels nostalgia for the past and for an Ecuador that has been lost. In a dream-like tale, part in the present, part in the past, this song touches on changing times through aspects such as education, development, livelihoods and the fisherman/farmer trying to make ends meet, which have all been affected by dollarization. She mentions how there are fewer ‘muchachos’ playing on the streets, and more skyscrapers that soar into the sky and she sings, ‘En Los sueños y en Ayer, yo me quedé’ (I have stayed in my dreams and in yesterday).
The photos accompanying the music were all taken by Ben who travelled with Coca to Ecuador.
Enjoy this beautiful song with English subtitles that represent one person’s perspective of the effects of globalisation in her home country.
Other Background info
“Niebla Verde” was written, composed and produced by Coca and recorded with musicians in Ecuador, with instrumental arrangements by Jaime Velásquez. Coca is back in the recording studio (Realworld Studios) including a material with an environmental theme.