Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Noir lyrics: "Salva Nos" by Kajiura Yuki

Noir is a very odd anime about a pair of female assassins fighting a shadowy organization. For some reason, Catholic imagery and music is thick on the ground. (I'll post the details later.) One major example is the song "Salva Nos", which is used as incidental music during the show -- usually when someone is being killed, or when the protagonists are trying to avoid getting killed. It's chant to a strong techno beat. (For folks who like their chant straight, there's a brief moment in one episode when a choir sings the Latin version of "By the Father's Love Begotten".)

I don't normally post other people's lyrics, but I have two reasons for doing so in this case. First, every version I've seen on the Internet is wrong about the words and their meaning. Second, the lyrics are about as far into the public domain as possible, being taken from the old Requiem Mass. (Which of course means the choice and arrangement of those lyrics, and their connection to the music, is the copyrighted bit.) It's pretty clear bits o' Latin were grabbed out wholesale.... Anyway, the part in English (and italics) is my translation.

Dominus Deus,
Lord God,
Exaudi nos et miserere.
Listen to us and have mercy.
Exaudi, Dominus.
Listen, Lord.

Dona nobis pacem
Grant us peace
Et salva nos a hostibus.
And save us from the enemy.
Salva nos, Deus.
Save us, God.

The above verses are repeated twice; then the following two verses are sung simultaneously.

High voice sings in counterpoint:
Dominus, exaudi nos.
Lord, listen to us.
Dominus, miserere.
Lord, have mercy.
Dona nobis pacem.
Grant us peace.
Sanctus -- Gloria --
Holy -- Glory --

Low voice sings in counterpoint:
Dona nobis pacem,
Grant us peace,
Et dona eis requiem,
And grant them rest,
Inter oves locum.
A place among the sheep.
Voca me cum benedictis.
Call me along with the blessed.
Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem.
Merciful Jesus, Lord, grant them rest.
Dominus Deus -- Sanctus -- Gloria.
Lord God -- Holy -- Glory.

The first two verses are repeated again.

The "holy -- glory" bits don't make much sense to me; it seems like the songwriter was just grabbing words there. But "inter oves locum" and "voca me cum benedictis" are quotes from the "Dies Irae". Very interesting. Definitely catchy, and the polyphonic verse is beautiful. But then, the Noir soundtrack is an exceptionally good one all around.


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