16 July 2009

Learning Spanish by Singing

My amiga Suzanne at "Living in San Miguel" made the comment the other day that perhaps it would be a good idea to learn some very traditional songs so that one could sing along with the crowd at fiestas and gatherings of any kind wherever music is played. I think that is a great idea. Not only does that help boost ones vocabulary but it can really make one feel like they are part of the crowd. It's a lot better than sitting there with a forced smile nodding your head and faking a hum when everyone else is singing. I thought I would do a series of posts and introduce some of the songs that I have learned that have generally come in handy when they pass me that karaoke mike. Here is a partial list to begin with:

"Si Nos Dejan"
"Cielito Lindo"
"La Vibora de la Mar"
"Las Mañanitas"
"Allá en el Rancho Grande"
"El Rey"
"Caminos de Guanajuato"
"México Lindo y Querido"
"Bésame Mucho"

This is a very basic list. It includes songs like "Las Mañanitas" that you will hear at every birthday party and "La Vibora de la Mar" that you will hear at almost every traditional wedding feast.

I'd like to start out with my all time favorite go-to song whenever I get near a microphone and the band doesn't mind. This is a song that you can really belt out and pretend that you are somebody else. It doesn't matter if you can't sing very well because a lot of other people will join in who can't sing very well either. The result generally ends up fairly good because there is camaraderie in cacophony and besides that by the time the singing starts everyone has had a nip or two of tequila. This song was written by Jose Alfredo Jimenez from the town of Dolores Hidalgo. Here in the state of Guanajuato he is a favorite son and a local hero but the song is famous and very popular all over Mexico. The song is called "Si nos Dejan"..."If They Let Us".

Si nos dejan,
If the let us,
Nos vamos a querer toda la vida
We are going to be in love all of our lives

Si nos dejan,
If they let us,
Nos vamos a vivir a un mundo nuevo
We are going to live in a new world

Yo creo podemos ver, el nuevo amanecer de un nuevo día
I think we can see a new dawn of a new day
Yo pienso que tu y yo, podemos ser felices todavía
I think that you and I can still be happy

Si nos dejan
If they let us
Buscamos un rincón cerca del cielo
We'll look for a corner nook close to heaven

Si nos dejan
If they let us
Hacemos con las nubes terciopelo
We'll make it with the velvet clouds

Y ahí juntitos los dos cerquita de dios sera lo que soñamos
And there, the both of us together, close to God will be like we are dreaming
Si nos dejan, te llevo de la mano corazón y ahí nos vamos
If they let us, I will take you by the hand dear heart and there we will go

Si nos dejan
If they let us
Hacemos con las nubes terciopelo
We'll make it with the velvet clouds

Y ahí juntitos los dos cerquita de dios sera lo que soñamos
And there, the both of us together, close to God will be like we are dreaming
Si nos dejan, te llevo de la mano corazón y ahí nos vamos
If they let us, I will take you by the hand dear heart and there we will go

Si nos dejan, de todo lo demás nos olvidamos
If they let us, we will forget all of the rest
¡Si nos dejan!
If they let us!




8 comments:

Leslie Limon said...

I'm a big Jose Alfred fan. My hubby introduced me to his music when we were newlyweds. Si nos dejan is one of my favorite songs. I have another favorite song, but I can never remember the name. It starts with "Amaneci otra vez, entre tus brazos". Son canciones perfectas para serenata!

1st Mate said...

One more for your list, a very popular Christmas song, "Los Peces en El Rio" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gotsVJiBpE&feature=related

YayaOrchid said...

Oh, wow! Thank you for reminding me about this great artist. He is also one of my all time favorites!

Have you heard his song "Cuando Vivas Conmigo"? It's about a man in love with a younger woman. I like the way he weaves the bravado with the mention of 'aging'.

You know, I think I'll go and imbed one of his videos. Simply because I love his music.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I think you should consider eliminating Cielito Lindo and Allá en el Rancho Grande from your list...those are the two songs that the mariachis think are the only ones the gringos know...so singing them just perpetuates that particular stereotype. The only other one on your list that I know is Las Mañanitas so I look forward to learning some new ones myself.

Bob Mrotek said...

Anonymous,

Cielito Lindo and Allá en el Rancho Grande are old favorites and believe it or not Mexican people still love them and sing them. I don't think I am doing any harm by leaving them on my list. Come on...lighten up :)

Suzanne said...

Thank you Bob, I've been a little slow in my blog reading the last few weeks and just saw this. I will stay tuned and check in daily to do a little singing practice. It never occurred to me to go to youtube to find video and music to sing along with.

what fabulous voices they have.
Suzanne
www.livinginsanmiguel.wordpress.com

Ivan Luna said...

Hello Bob,

I have been reading here and there in your blog and I think it's fantastic! I'm mexican and to appreciate so much love for my culture and country is such a great feeling.

I was reading your translation for "Si nos dejan" and although I know some of the -feeling- of the song is lost due to the translation I may suggest 2 small changes in the translation (which might somewhat affect the sense). They are:

- Hacemos con las nubes terciopelo
We'll make velvet out of the clouds

- Y ahí juntitos los dos cerquita de dios sera lo que soñamos
And there, the both of us together, close to God it'll be what we dreamed of

I know they are not big changes but I think that it impacts in the meaning and feeling of the song somehow. Besides I do like the idea of spreading Spanish by singing (that's what I try to do with my English hehehe) and I enjoy translating songs, if you need help please let me know.

Cheers,
Iván

Bob Mrotek said...

Thank you Iván. I appreciate your help :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.