When Esperanza Elizabeth was birthed by the wife of a trapped Chilean miner last month, Dunsmuir musicians Allison Scull and Victor Martin experienced a special sense of connection through a work they had released in January, a song titled Esperanza, Spanish for “hope.”

When Esperanza Elizabeth was birthed by the wife of a trapped Chilean miner last month, Dunsmuir musicians Allison Scull and Victor Martin experienced a special sense of connection through a work they had released in January, a song titled Esperanza, Spanish for “hope.”

A fan emailed Scull a message announcing the birth and shared the connection the creation by Scull and Martin had made for her.

“I'm tickled she took the time to email,” Scull said at home Sunday. “She really tuned into that song.”

Initially the musicians, partners on stage and off, did not pay much attention to what appeared to be yet another mining disaster, but after that email they focused on the story. At the time, estimates on how long the miners might be down there reached as far as December. There were doubts they could survive. But 33 men declared the birth a sign of hope, and claimed it as something that would give them the strength to endure.

Martin's first thought was, oh wow. “I started thinking about the lyrics,” he said. “I think it was like a gradual effect. It gave me chills – in a good way.”

“That's exactly what the song is about!” exclaimed Scull. “When life does not look like it's going in your favor. But there's the power of your heart and the strength of your faith. It's strong.”

Scull wrote the song Esperanza years ago, based on feelings she recalled from an adult friend she knew when she was about five years old. Though names and the images had faded, Scull drew from her friend's strong, loving force. “Just from that feeling, I remember her today,” she said.

In the song Esperanza, lyrics describe a drop of dew in the desert, just enough to carry on. They depict a ray of light in a six-month night, an inspiration to see things through.
To the men buried alive in a far-away copper mine, Esperanza was a baby girl born 2300 feet above.

Scull was elated. “It was a feeling of synchronicity,” she said.

Both of them said that they felt a heightened sense of connection that built in the weeks between the birth and the successful rescue.

“I'm always a proponent of world community,” said Martin. “We are community.” He said that by the connection with the miners and their hope and the song, he felt that some of his dreams of that community were coming true.

Martin said that by the time the first miner was pulled out of the shaft, his feelings were too strong. “The most touching thing for me was the son running to his father when the first guy came out. There were tears in my eyes. I had to get away.”

Scull said that she was crying over her laptop when they pulled out the 32nd miner, Esperanza's father. She emailed a media contact she knew in Chico, Lorraine Dechter, news director for Northstate Public Radio. Scull attached to the message an mp3 of the song Esperanza.

Dechter wrote back saying that she had played it after an NPR “All Things Considered” update on the successful rescue of all the miners. “Beautiful!” she wrote. “And thanks for thinking of the news' relevance and sharing. It was touching.”

Scull checked online for any public reaction. “We looked at the stats on our Myspace profile and saw some new visitors from Chico, where the song played, and some from Chile, which we've never seen before,” she said. “That you're connecting with people that far away is cool!”

Martin said, “I see it like it feels when we play live and see how people respond. They tell you why they like that song, and we go, 'That's why we wrote it!' It's almost like we get a $1 million check. It's like that feeling.”

He paused, smiled, then added, “It's such an honor to be part of that.”