The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #1901   Message #228290
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-May-00 - 02:17 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Swallow Song (R Farina)-Los Bilbilicos
Subject: RE: Swallow Song
Thanks to Jacob, I found this at the mailing list, which is archived at
Hi, Pablo. Worth noting that the so-called "Richard Farina tune at the end" - A Swallow Song - is in fact a very slight melodic variant on the Sephardic tune "Los Bilbilicos" (itself often used as the table song "Tzur Mishelo"). Farina evidently did not credit the original source on his LPs (and it is not credited in the recent CD re-release.)

I'd be interested if folks know of other recordings that use this variant. My wife learned "A Swallow Song" at summer camp and had no idea of its origin.

Joel Bresler
Here's another clip of a different message from Joel Bresler:
La Rosa Enflorece is one of the most widely recorded Sephardic songs. It is also known by its alternate opening stanza, Los Bilbilicos (The Nightingales.) I know of 120 examples, and this is just of the Ladino version. I don't begin to attempt a count of its use as a melody for Tzur Mishelo. BTW, I believe "La Rosa Enflorece" is not actually a romance (which is a ballad which always comes in a particular format) but rather a lyric song.
Thanks, Jacob & Joel - that adds another piece to the puzzle.
-Joe Offer-

One more thing I found on the mailing list archive - apparently, there is a modernized version of the song, titled "Los Bibilicos" (note spelling difference), in a Theodore Bikel songbook called Folksongs and Footnotes. Does anybody have that book, and would you be willing to post the Bikel lyrics for us?