In the fourth song of the musical, The exile, Pamela starts to fill us in on the back story. As we will see throughout the musical, we have not cramped the whole back story into one shot. The story is being unravelled, one bit at a time.
Even though the title may suggest that this song is about Hugo going into exile, it really is about Pamela's back story. In the previous song, I recall, she gave us her viewpoint on Hugo and their love story. This time we want to know her life story.
Track: Into Exile
(Click song name to listen on soundloud)Album: The Exile, concept album recording
Artist: Eric Swardt
The song is a standard AABA song form, i.e. it has 2 verses, a bridge and then a verse repeated. No Chorus. Though pop music lovers may find this strange, this form is fairly common in musicals.
You were still an unborn child
when he went into exile
and left me here on my own
When he went to the unknown
I wondered why he left so quick
There was no time to try to understand
ever since that dreadful time
All that I could do was sit and cry
ever since he went into exile
The lyrics of the first verse speaks for itself. Pamela is addressing Tyler directly in this song. The lyrics is in a very direct style and no real attempt was made to hide subliminal messages. Throughout this song you will however have to listen carefully for some very important hints about Pamela and Hugo. In the first verse, take note when Pamela is innocently telling Tyler "I wondered why he left so quick". In a song much later in this story you will get some further insight into those words.
From that day he spent his life
to dedicate to discord and strife
for the freedom of this land
while I was left here on my own
I knew that he would not return
Day after day and years were rolling on
I had to care for my child
but I was still a child myself
on that day he went into exile
This verse starts off telling us about Hugo and how he became a freedom fighter, but once again she turns the attention back to herself by telling us about her own suffering as a young teenage single mother.
In all those years things went astray
when the government put our leader in jail
and they were on their way
to take this place down the drain
We were the scum of humanity
Slaves in our own beautiful country
We could not even walk
free on the street or free on the beach
In the bridge of this song we turn the attention away from Pamela's personal life a bit and start to fill you in on the political situation. The leaders were jailed and the country was headed for disaster. The reality of the apartheid policy was that they were not treated as equal human beings.
Through all these years I gave you a home
even though I was all alone
In all these years you were the one
who gave me strength to carry on
The years went by I worked each day
a simple job as the master's maid
and all I had I spent upon
the schooling of my only son
since that day he went into exile
In the last verse Pamela turns the attention back to her again. The story she is telling here is a very common story in South Africa during those times. As a single mother, to survive and send her child to school, she had to work as a domestic worker for a below minimum wage.