Music Monday: Childhood Nostalgia

This week’s Music Monday (yes, I know it’s Tuesday; it’s hard to remember the days of the week when you’re on vacation) is about childhood. One of the interesting things about different cultures is children’s songs. In the States you have Yankee Doodle, Little Miss Muffet, and whatever else. Since I spent my childhood here I remember a lot of children’s songs. Onto the songs, which you can even use to practice your Spanish.

The first one is pretty cute and easy to learn. It’s called Los Pollitos Dicen “Pio, Pio, Pio” (The Baby Chicks Say “Peep, Peep, Peep”). As you can imagine it’s about baby chicks complaining and asking for food, shelter, and other needs that the mother hen has to provide.

Then, we go on to Sammy El Heladero (Sammy the Ice Cream Vendor). Guess who is the ice cream vendor? A penguin! He gives each animal a different flavor, the lion gets lemon, the tiger gets rice, the elephant a giant one, and the whole family gets vanilla, I don’t know why. Here is an interpretation of Sammy:

Isn't he cute!

There was a great Colombian poet in the late 19th century named Rafael Pombo* who adapted some nursery rhymes into Spanish. One of my favorites that I had to memorize in elementary school was El renacuajo paseador (The traveling tadpole). It tells the story of the tadpole Rin Rin who leaves home against his mother’s wishes and goes to hang out with his friends and then ends up getting eaten by a duck. Actually, everyone gets eaten except Rin Rin’s mother.

Despite not actually being a big fan of Disney movies (except maybe the Lion King) I really liked the song about Pinochio. It’s about a doll hospital where Pinochio ends up because a scarecrow had wounded him. The doctor says that he can mend him up, but it won’t make a difference unless he gets a heart. I remember I made my mom sing me the song all the time until she got tired and then I had to learn it myself. The fairy godmother ends up saving him with a fake heart. Yay!

The last song is very Colombian, it’s called La Iguana y El Perezoso (The Iguana and the Sloth). It’s so Colombian that I have to share the lyrics with you:

Había una vez una iguana
There was once and iguana
Con una ruana de lana
With a wool ruana** 
peinándose la melena junto al río magdalena.
Brushing her mane next to the Magdalena River***
Y la iguana tomaba café, tomaba café a la hora del té
And the iguana drank coffee, drank coffee at tea hour
y la iguana tomaba café, tomaba café a la hora del té.
And the iguana was drank coffee, drank coffee at tea hour
Llegó un perezoso caminando, en pijama y bostezando
A sloth arrived by in pijamas and yawning 
le dio un empujón a doña iguana y la lanzó de cabeza al agua
Gave doña iguana a push and shoved her head first into the water
y el perezoso se toma el café, se toma el café a la hora del té
And the sloth drinks the coffee, drinks the coffee at tea hour
y el perezoso se toma el café, se toma el café a la hora del té.
And the sloth drinks the coffee, drinks the coffee at tea hour
La iguana volvió toda mojada, furibunda y enojada
The iguana came back all wet, furious and angry
le espicha en la oreja al perezoso y lo encerró en el calabozo.
She pinched the sloth’s ear and locked him up in a cell.
Y la iguana termina el café, termina el café a la hora del té
And the iguana finished the coffee, finished the coffee at tea hour
y la iguana termina el café, termina el café a la hora del té
And the iguana finished the coffee, finished the coffee at tea hour

*there are other really cool ones like La Pobre Viejecita, El gato bandido, and Michín

**Here is what a ruana looks like:

***The Magdalena River is the principal river of Colombia

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3 Responses to Music Monday: Childhood Nostalgia

  1. Pingback: Music Monday: Childhood Nostalgia | Don't Give Papaya | Preschool Spanish | Scoop.it

  2. These are great songs! I love the ways kids’ songs embody culture so completely. I use lots of songs from different countries in my classes, but I had never heard La iguana y el perezoso. Thanks so much for sharing this slice of Colombia and your childhood!

  3. I love the story about the iguana, so funny :)

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