Hark the sorrowful story
of Beneharo of Anaga,
the wretched Mencey
who went mad with rage
when he lost the freedom
of his lineage and homeland
and lost his REASON.

This verse belongs to the long cantata dedicated to Beneharo, Guanche Mencey (king) by local folk ensemble Los Sabandeños.

The Guanches were the pre-Hispanic tribes that lived on the island of Tenerife.

The words of La Cantata del Mencey Loco, which is the name of this musical piece, belong to La Tierra y la Raza by poet Ramón Gil Roldán. It narrates the idyllic life of the original inhabitants of the island, with their primitive culture, which was overturned completely with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors.

The arrangement of the words and music of the Cantata was by Elfidio Alonso, leader of Los Sabandeños.

Beneharo, during a confrontation with the Castilian soldiers – the poem narrates that he fought singlehanded against twelve enemies – was seriously injured and, rather than surrendering to the victors, threw himself off a very high mountain.

They say that the race died
but it was never a dead race,
a race that ended in history
to survive in legend.

The above  was originally posted by JOSÉ ANTONIO PARDELLAS in Tenerife Express.
For more info on Tenerife read the Red Queen Musings everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog
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  1. Monica Biggs says:

    I did enjoy reading that. Thank you Meryl. The Guanche were amazing people who adapted to difficult conditions.

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