Daniel Pazmino, 53: Marta Sanchez's 'Desesperada'

Feb 27, 2021

More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.


My funny, cool, dimple-faced uncle was the kindest man you'd ever meet. He can talk for hours about the New York Mets, movies, Ecuador, tattoos, and his precious Jeep. When I was planning to get my first car, he tried so hard to get me onboard and join the Jeep world. I ended up going for a Ford Escape, and I never heard the end of it. Just shows you how much of a passionate man he was. More than loving his Jeep, he adored his golden retriever named Goliath (appropriate), his two beautiful daughters, and stunning wife. Like Kobe, he was a Girl-dad. Tio Daniel was the man who taught me how to drive a stick and never lost patience when I didn't get the hang of it (I still don't know how).

My 53-year-old uncle was a fan of Marta Sanchez who is a Spanish singer, and this is one of her more popular songs. This song, in particular, brings me a little closer to him, with its poetic lyrics behind its upbeat tune. Marta sings "I walk in the sun, but it's winter in my heart / That's why I'm desperate / Because our love / Is an emerald that a thief stole." That's how anyone who's ever met him feels, as if a piece of our heart was stolen that we will never get back. He was one of kind, my dear Tio Daniel. —Yanira Camino, niece

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

More than half a million people have died in the United States from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. This week, NPR tries to remember some of those who've lost their lives by listening to music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs of Remembrance. Here's Yanira Camino of New York City.

YANIRA CAMINO: His name was Daniel Pazmino. So his nieces and nephews, we just called him Tio Daniel. When I was talking to my cousin Dani (ph) yesterday, his daughter, it was hard for even her to, like, a pick a song because he just - he played so many constantly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

MARTA SANCHEZ: (Singing) Oh, yeah.

CAMINO: We each have our own individual songs that remind us of him and all the memories that we had. And, you know, "Desesperada" by Marta Sanchez, that's mine. That's the one that I resonate with.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

CAMINO: Honestly, he was a lot of things. He was a son. He was a brother. He was an uncle. He was with his wife for over 20 years, and they had two girls. He was the cool uncle, for sure. He was the cool uncle of the group. He was 53. He was young, hip. He loved all types of music, which is why he installed these huge speakers in his car just to blast it while he was driving. Like, it was something honestly out of, like, "Pimp My Ride."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

CAMINO: My family, they're from Ecuador, and we grew up on the Lower East Side. So he would always just leave the car doors open and just blast music out of his car, you know, while the older folks, they were just, like, sit in their beach chairs on the block.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

CAMINO: So the song, it's about being just lost and desperate because you're not with this person. It has such an upbeat rhythm to it that it just makes you want to dance. You know, it gets you in the mood. But then when you actually listen to it, like, it's a, you know, pretty sad song. It's about, you know, this person who is so desperate that she was in love with this person, and they're not together anymore. So every time I just - I listen to it, I just think of him because that's exactly how I feel. I'm just - you know, everybody who knew him is just desperate for him to come back.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

CAMINO: I think my entire family at this point, like, you know, we're not really trying to dwell on, you know, everything that's happened because we're not the only ones who were put in this situation. But we're trying to honor his memory, just appreciate him and the memories that he gave us and, you know, all the songs that remind us of him.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

SIMON: Yanira Camino talking about her uncle, Daniel Pazmino. You can find all of NPR's Songs of Remembrance at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESESPERADA")

SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.