The Beatle Who Spoke Guaraní

25Apr12

Anglophiles in Asunción were aflutter last week with Paul McCartney’s first-ever visit to Paraguay. Last Tuesday he performed to 30,000 ecstatic fans, wowing them not only with his music, but also with his efforts to speak Guaraní.

After the event, one enthusiastic concertgoer commented on McCartney’s website:

For some time now, if they had told me that performers like the Rolling Stones were going to come to Paraguay, I would have believed it, but that PAUL McCARTNEY would come, IMPOSSIBLE! A Beatle in my beloved country! Truly a dream come true.

Sir PAUL, together with the Beatles you were pioneers in so many ways. And now you have left everyone behind once again, beyond the oft-used phrase “Ro Hayhu Paraguay” (I love you, Paraguay – this is the phrase he uses in the video above), going further with “Mba’éichapa” (How are you?), “Iporapa” (Are you well?) and even “Aguyje” (Thank you). Simply a GENIUS AND A GREAT PERSON!!! […] WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!!!

Various church leaders around Paraguay have commented to us that the country struggles with low self-esteem, valuing foreign products, ideas, and expertise over Paraguay’s own wealth of talent and resources. In this instance, while McCartney is obviously a foreigner and performs in English, his use of Paraguay’s traditional language seems to have facilitated a moment of cultural reaffirmation for thousands of Guaraní-speaking Beatles fans.

Since last Tuesday, word has gone round Paraguay that McCartney enthusiastically admired the traditional Paraguayan embroidered shirt that Asunción’s mayor wore when the two men met before the concert. We expect it won’t be long before the Beatle is deluged with dozens of shirts, all with cards saying “Ro Hayhu, Sir Paul. Aguyje.”

More about the Paul McCartney concert: Spanish | English

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2 Responses to “The Beatle Who Spoke Guaraní”

  1. 1 Troy S

    It sounds like everything is going well. I’m excited about all your doing and am praying for you. Troy S.


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