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Songs of Remembrance: 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was his dad's favorite

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Nearly 1 million people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. NPR's remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're calling our tribute Songs of Remembrance. Jorge Espinosa lost his father, Jaime Alejandro Espinosa-Anabalon in 2020.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIMON AND GARFUNKEL SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

JORGE ESPINOSA: A song that mattered a lot to my father was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

ART GARFUNKEL: (Singing) When you're weary, feeling small.

ESPINOSA: My dad had a lot of hardships. Like, he lost his father when he was, like, 5 or something. And from there, things got really bad financially. So for him, that song kind of really resonated with him and his struggle through his life.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

GARFUNKEL: (Singing) I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough.

ESPINOSA: My dad was a mold maker - molds for parts, like, engine parts or any other metal or even plastic parts. He got his training when he was living in Santiago, Chile, which is where he's from.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

GARFUNKEL: (Singing) When you're down and out, when you're on the street.

ESPINOSA: He traveled throughout all South America, so he never really stayed put. So he - hardships would always follow him in terms of being able to find work, being able to make a living. And he wasn't scared to, like, get up and find something better. And I think that doing those type of things, taking that kind of risk, going into, like, something you don't know is scary.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

GARFUNKEL: (singing) And pain is all around. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

ESPINOSA: There was a lot of hardships in that path that he took in taking risks. But he could just as easily take that same thing and, like, attach something really lovely and beautiful to it. It's like when you think about fruit. Like, the fruit with all the bruises and the scars - they're the ones that have, like, the most, you know, sugar and sweetness and taste the best kind of thing, which is actually really what he instilled in me a lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

ESPINOSA: (singing) Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

INSKEEP: Jorge Espinosa recalling his father, Jaime Alejandro Espinosa-Anabalon - he died of COVID in 2020 at the age of 85.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER")

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL: (Singing) Sail on Silver Girl. Sail on by. Your time has come. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.