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Lyr Req: La Cucaracha

Related threads:
Lyr Req: to La Cucaracha (21)
Anger over La Cucaracha (33)


Gargoyle 26 Jul 98 - 01:51 PM
Barbara 26 Jul 98 - 04:15 PM
Teru 26 Jul 98 - 07:04 PM
BSeed 27 Jul 98 - 01:22 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 29 Jul 98 - 09:00 PM
Sheye 29 Jul 98 - 10:55 PM
Gargoyle 04 Aug 98 - 03:27 PM
Jon W. 04 Aug 98 - 07:15 PM
Ferrara 05 Aug 98 - 01:02 AM
Joe Offer 08 Aug 98 - 03:19 AM
Philip Hudson 08 Aug 98 - 01:34 PM
Jerry Friedman 10 Aug 98 - 03:56 PM
Jerry Friedman 13 Aug 98 - 06:14 PM
Jon W. 14 Aug 98 - 10:39 AM
Joe Offer 14 Aug 98 - 02:51 PM
Jerry Friedman 14 Aug 98 - 06:30 PM
Roy in Tucson 20 Aug 98 - 08:43 AM
Jerry Friedman 20 Aug 98 - 07:46 PM
Wilfried Schaum M.A. 21 Aug 98 - 04:09 AM
Roy in Tucson 22 Aug 98 - 12:14 AM
Bob Bolton 24 Aug 98 - 12:24 AM
Jon W. 24 Aug 98 - 11:07 AM
dick greenhaus 24 Aug 98 - 01:14 PM
Joe Offer 24 Aug 98 - 03:39 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Aug 98 - 10:06 PM
KickyC 24 Aug 98 - 11:45 PM
Genie 03 May 02 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,macca 03 May 02 - 01:39 AM
GUEST 03 May 02 - 09:22 AM
kendall 15 Jul 02 - 03:46 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 15 Jul 02 - 05:19 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 02 - 08:42 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 02 - 09:53 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 02 - 10:34 PM
Coyote Breath 16 Jul 02 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Cstinn1 23 May 06 - 12:13 PM
Rapparee 23 May 06 - 02:19 PM
BuckMulligan 24 May 06 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Eddyratking 09 Jun 06 - 12:32 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Feb 08 - 07:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Feb 08 - 08:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Feb 08 - 08:36 PM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 08 - 01:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Feb 08 - 01:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 May 08 - 07:00 PM
Joe_F 08 May 08 - 09:13 PM
Monique 09 May 08 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 14 May 08 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Q as guest 14 May 08 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 14 May 08 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Guest is Q 14 May 08 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 14 May 08 - 08:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Oct 08 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,peter schoeffel 07 Nov 08 - 03:02 AM
Monique 07 Nov 08 - 05:41 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 08 - 01:59 PM
Monique 07 Nov 08 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Senora Carlota 02 Feb 09 - 07:18 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Feb 09 - 01:19 PM
SINSULL 02 Feb 09 - 08:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Feb 09 - 09:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Feb 09 - 10:06 PM
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Subject: Lyric's Needed:
From: Gargoyle
Date: 26 Jul 98 - 01:51 PM

It is surprising to not find the Spanish/English lyrics to "La Cucarocha."

It is a Mexican song about a cockroach that becomes so stoned on marijuana that it is unable to move.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Barbara
Date: 26 Jul 98 - 04:15 PM

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
Ya no puede caminar,
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Marijuana por fumar.

Oh, I've got the verses somewhere I'll look later. Anyone else?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: Lyr Add: LA CUCARACHA
From: Teru
Date: 26 Jul 98 - 07:04 PM

Here the lyrics. I think the third verse is the most famous. Does anyone know the background history of this Mexican folk song?

1. Con las barbas de Carranza voy ahacer una to quilla
Pa ponersela al sombrero de su padre Pancho Villa.

CHO. La cucaracha, La cucaracha, ya no puede caminar,
Porque le falta, porque le falta, marihuana que fumar.

2. Ya murió la cucaracha, ya la llevan a enterrar,
Entre cuatro zopilotes y un ratón de sacristán. CHO.

3. Una cosa me da risa: Pancho Villa sin camisa;
Ya se van los Carrancistas, porque vienen los Villistas. CHO.

4. Un panadera fué a misa, no encontrando qué rezar,
Le pidió a la Virgen pura marihuana que fumar. CHO.

5. Cuando uno quiere una y esta una no lo quiere
Es lo mismo que si un calvo en la calle encuenta un peine. CHO.

6. Las muchachas son de oro, las casadas son de plata,
Y las viudas son de cobre, las viejas hoja de lata. CHO.

7. Para serapes, Saltillo; Chihuahua, para soldados;
Para mujeres, Jalisco; para amor, toditos lados. CHO.

8. Necesit un automóvil para hecer la caminata
Al lugar donde mandó a la Convención Zapata. CHO.

Regards

Teru (of Japan)


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: BSeed
Date: 27 Jul 98 - 01:22 AM

When I was a kid, the family used to gather around the piano while my mom played songs from a book. La Cucaracha was one of them, lyrics in English. Same for Ceilito Lindo. The book was full of songs like Sweet Adoline, Darling I Am Growing Old, The Old Oaken Bucket, I'm an Old Cowhand, etc. I don't remember the name of the book, but it seems to me it was a paperback of about 150 pages. I wish I had the book: we had a lot of fun.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 29 Jul 98 - 09:00 PM

Didn't Bugs Bunny sing a parody of this? Warner Bros/Ted Turner should come out with a Songs of Bugs Bunny CD.:)


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Sheye
Date: 29 Jul 98 - 10:55 PM

My famous double choc. choc. chip cookies for the transcription in English!>!>!>! (sorry, I gave my soul away last time!! - come to think of it, the cookies are probably the better deal)

And in the between, here's what we sang around Mom's piano:

La cucaracha, la cucaracha
had a fight with Minnie Mouse
La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Chased her all around the house

(missing something here; can't remember how Mickey joins in, hero that he is)

They knocked lamps and tables over
Til the noise attracted Rover
He looked around and then quickly
He began to chase poor Mickey!

La cucaracha, la cucaracha
She was winning in the race
And then came Minnie, then came Minnie
Who was then in second place
And then came Mickey and then came Rover
Came so fast it was a blur
La cucaracha, la cucaracha
She had hid in Rover's fur!


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Gargoyle
Date: 04 Aug 98 - 03:27 PM

Muchos Gracias!!!!

Now....could you please translate.... friends refuse to believe that it is about a stoned cockroach.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jon W.
Date: 04 Aug 98 - 07:15 PM

A very rough and literal translation (unknown words left in Spanish):

CHORUS: The cockroach, the cockroach, is now unable to walk,
because she has none, she lacks, marijuana to smoke.

1. From the beard of Caranza I'm going to make a toquilla (possibly a war-token?) to put on the hat of his father, Pancho Villa

2. The cockroach is already dead, they took her to be buried between four zopilotes and a rat of sacristan.

3. One thing that makes me laugh is Pancho Villa without a shirt. The followers of Caranza are already leaving because the followers of Villa are coming.

4. A panadera (possibly baker?) went to Mass, having nothing to laugh about. He asked the Pure Virgin for marijuana to smoke.

5. When a man loves a woman and she doesn't love him, it's the same as when a bald man finds a comb on the street.

6. Girls are gold, married women are silver, widows are copper, and old ladies are tin.

7. For serapes (a blanket worn as an outer garment) Saltillo; Chihuahua for soldiers; for women, Jalisco;for love, everywhere.

8. You need an automobile to make the journey to the place where they sent Zapata's convention (probably political party).

Remember, humor doesn't translate and to really understand this song you need to know the history of the Mexican revolution (circa 1910). Pancho Villa, Caranza, and Zapata were leaders of rival factions. Obviously the political verses are mixed in with general (no pun intended) verses.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Ferrara
Date: 05 Aug 98 - 01:02 AM

Sheye, I had the "Minnie and Mickey" version in one of my piano books, too. I don't believe you've actually left anything out of it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LA CUCARACHA
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 98 - 03:19 AM

I'd say you did a pretty good job on the translation, Jon. I found pretty much the same translation in Carl Sandburg's American Songbag. And yes, Sandburg has the chorus about the marijuana in his 1926 book.

Here are some more verses I picked up in the Web.

LA CUCARACHA
Coro:
La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
ya no puede caminar;
porque no tiene, porque le falta
marihuana que fumar.

Ya murio la cucaracha,
ya la llevan a enterrar,
entre cuatro zopilotes
y un raton de sacristan.

Con las barbas de Carranza,
voy a hacer una toquilla,
pa' ponersela al sombrero
de su padre Pancho Villa.

Un panadero fue a misa,
no encontrando que rezar,
le pidio a la Virgen pura,
marihuana pa' fumar.

Una cosa me da risa:
Pancho Villa sin camisa;
ya se van los carrancistas
porque vienen los villistas.

Para sarapes, Saltillo;
Chihuahua para soldados;
para mujeres, Jalisco;
para amar, toditos lados.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 08 Aug 98 - 01:34 PM

When I was a boy in South Texas about 50 years ago, La Cucaracha had, in addition to its regular definition, the definition of being a jalopy, particularly a Model A Ford. I think there were words to fit the idiom, but I don't remember any in English or in Spanish (my Spanish is very limited). - Philip Hudson


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 10 Aug 98 - 03:56 PM

Thanks very much to Teru and Jon! I have some suggestions for both the transcription and translation:

1. The first line should be "...voy a hacer una toquilla" "Toquilla" is "knitted shawl" according to Langenscheidt's Spanish-English Dictionary.

Refrain: I don't see any reason to call the cockroach "she" instead of "it".

2. Zopilote means vulture, "buzzard". Ratón is mouse, not rat (rata), oddly enough (since words ending in -ón usually mean something big). I have no idea what a sacristan's mouse might be, but maybe it's related to "poor as a church mouse"? Incidentally, there's an accent in "sacristán".

3. The second line looks to me like, "The followers of Carranza are already leaving, why are the followers of Villa coming?"

4. It should be either "Una panadera" (a female baker, a baker's wife) or "Un panadero" (a male baker--and it would scan). "Rezar" is not "to laugh" (reír) but "to pray, to plead for". It seems to have many colloquial meanings too. So I'd try

A baker went to Mass; not finding anything to pray for,
He asked the Pure Virgin for marijuana to smoke.

The line ends at "Virgen" (since consecutive vowels are sung as one syllable in Spanish), but I think there could be a double meaning: "He asked the Virgin for pure marijuana to smoke."

5. I believe it should be "uno quiere a una" (I've seen it printed that way), and I'm sure it should be "encuentra un peine".

6. It calls old women tin foil, not just tin.

8. It should be either "Necesita" (one needs, you need, as Jon translated it) or possibly "Necesito" (I need). Also "hacer", not "hecer". Langenscheidt, whoever he or she is, translates "caminata" as "hike".

"Mandar" has several meanings, including "send", but here I think "Convención" is the object and "Zapata" is the subject. Then it makes more sense as

You need an automobile to make the journey
To the place where Zapata ruled (governed, commanded) the Convention.

No doubt this is a very funny joke about a highly important event in Mexican history, but I'm missing the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 13 Aug 98 - 06:14 PM

Looking at verse 3 again, I think Jon was right: "The followers of Carranza are already leaving because the followers of Villa are coming."


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jon W.
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 10:39 AM

Thanks for the clarifications, Jerry. My high school Spanish is not just rusty, it's also dusty and musty. I guess I put "she" in the chorus because of the feminine case of the noun, but I suppose that there really is no such thing as "el cucaracho". And the bit about tin foil makes good sense - I had no idea what hoja meant.

I did a search on the Mexican Revolution on the net and found a little more about Zapata. The convention mentioned is no doubt the constitutional convention of 1917. Zapata pushed for land reform. He was murdered by government agents in 1919. There is a current militant movement in Chiapas named after him and wanting the same things. As for Carranza, he became president of Mexico for a while. Pancho Villa was a bandit before the revolution and was always a loose cannon.

P.S. how do you put those accents on?


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 02:51 PM

Hi, Jon - the easiest way to put in accents, umlauts, and such is to get them from the "Character Map" program that's under "Accessories" in Windows 95. Copy whatever you might need out of Character map, and paste them down at the bottom of your word processor document. For each accented character, make up an unusual letter combination - I use "oe" for an accented "o." Then, do a search-and-replace, pasting the desired character into the "replace" box. Comprende?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 06:30 PM

That Langenscheidt's Dictionary's look-up page provides this handy line: ÄÖÜäöüßÁÀÉÈÍÌÓÒÚÙÑáàéèíìóòúùñ¿¡

Since I was looking up words anyway, I copied and pasted the accented vowels from there. When I'm not using the dictionary, I'd type accented letters (or the whole response) in MS Word.

Hey Max, considering how often people post in Gaelic, as well as the minor languages that use accented letters (French, Spanish, German, etc. :-) ), maybe you should make that line above available under the Reply to Thread box. I'm just full of suggestions for work for you these days!


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Roy in Tucson
Date: 20 Aug 98 - 08:43 AM

Why call a cucuracha "she" instead of "it"? Why sing about a stoned insect? Well, I've always heard that certain women who followed the Villista army around were nicknamed "cucurachas". By way of confirmation, I've also seen an old Mexican movie entitled "La Cucuracha" which definately centers around the love & valor of one of these Villista camp followers. A lot of great songs grew out of the Mexican revolution of 1913, including La Adelita, Jesusita, La Rielera, Carabina 20-20, Siete Lequas...


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 20 Aug 98 - 07:46 PM

A book where I saw this song said that the cucaracha was any disliked person. Also that every regiment in the Mexican army adds its own verses, which may explain why there seems to an ambivalent attitude towards Villa in the version above.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Wilfried Schaum M.A.
Date: 21 Aug 98 - 04:09 AM

Hi everybody,

To Friedman's remark "Langenscheidt, whoever he or she is, ...": Langenscheidt is THE German publishing corporation in dictionaries and language training programs. To Roy in Tucson's remark "Carabina 20-20": The caliber is not 20-20, but 30-30 (carabina treinta-treinta; so on an old record I happen to own.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Roy in Tucson
Date: 22 Aug 98 - 12:14 AM

Wilfried, you are right: 30-30! My brain must have been off-line this morning. 20-20 is a TV show, for heaven's sake!


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 12:24 AM

G'day Joe Offer and Jerry Friedman,

I've been meaning to try this out and the discussion of accenting words jogs me along. I have a printout of the full 256 character ASCII set for a standard font (printed from FontSee - a shareware app that was around a while back). This gives the ALT codes to type any character, for instance e acute is (ALT Key plus) 0233 - é and a grave is (ALT Key plus) 0224 - à.

I have a full sheet of all 256 codes slipped in the shelf near the computer and an abbreviated 'cheat sheet' of the most useful characters hanging in front of me.

Of course, all this pales into insignificance compared to what I had to do a little while back - create a set of OHP slides - bilingual - English / Vietnamese, using a couple of Vietnamese language TrueType fonts ... Do you know how many accents the Vietnamese have???? Every damned character in the second half of the ASCII set, bar two ... 126 accent combinations!!!!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Jon W.
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 11:07 AM

Bob, is there any way you can make your cheat sheet available? I'd rather type in alt-key combinations than search and replace as Joe suggested (no offense, Joe, just my personal style).


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 01:14 PM

Hey Folks-- There are several ways of inserting accents. We're not using any of them because it makes searching more difficult--we have enough trouble with Mucatters with creative spelling WITHOUT accen


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 03:39 PM

I dunno, Dick. I think it might be better if we have the appropriate accents in place, if they're available, and then add a few keywords in a paragraph at the end of a song to facilitate searching. It might also be a good idea to include alternate titles with a song, again to facilitate searching. I'll agree that the accents make searching harder, but I think there's a definite value in having the text correct. I guess it's a balancing act, isn't it?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 10:06 PM

Joe- I guess I could do it, but the combination of my woeful ignorance of languages other than English (wi a wee bit of braid Scots) and the somewhat fanciful spelling of all to many of our contributors is apt to make it a bit of a horror. Does anyone know if different programs and platforms have standard ASCII numbers for these accents? If they don't, I'd have to say forget it.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: KickyC
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 11:45 PM

I have the basic codes for the accents that I use to write Spanish. I can list those here.

á = alt + 0225 é = alt + 0233 í = alt + 0237 ó = alt + 0243 ú = alt + 0250 ¿ = alt + 0191 ¡ = alt + 0161 ñ = alt + 0241

I have these on a small post it on my computer. You can make your own list by looking at the character map and just writing them down so you don't have to look them up all the time. I also have a programable key board so some of the characters are just function keys. I did it once, but can't remember how. Guess I would have to look it up in the help index.

I enjoyed Jerry's translation of the song. I think you were right about the asking for pure marijuana instead of the pure virgen. In Spanish, the adjectives that come after a noun distinguish one class of the noun from others. Adjectives that come before are inherent qualities." Una pura virgen" would be "a pure virgen" since being a virgen would naturally mean one was pure. On the other hand, "una virgen pura" would distinguish this virgen from others who were not pure. ( sort of an oxymoron) Anyway, I think you were right with the "pure marijuna to smoke" translation.

Anyway this has been interesting. I teach a lot of students from Mexico and will use this next semester when we study the Mexican Revolution. Last year one of my students had a great grandfather who fought with Zapata. Very interesting. Any mention of Villa being a bandit also brings on a wave of disagreement. He was a "hero of the Revolution!" I tell them it depended on which side of the border you lived on or which part of Mexico you were from..

KickyC


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: Genie
Date: 03 May 02 - 01:07 AM

Thanks for posting all those verses, Joe. I knew only the one about Pancho Villa being laughable without his shirt.

I've been told that "La Cucaracha" was a common nickname for Pancho Villa and that the song was about him. As such, I've never seen the marijuana lyrics as advocating drug use; they are either purely descriptive of a guy with a drug habit or they are ridiculing him.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed:
From: GUEST,macca
Date: 03 May 02 - 01:39 AM

I've recently read the claim that "La Cucaracha" was composed by an itinerant fiddler who accompanied Villa's army - The name Apolinario Gomez Garcia was mentioned. This is mentioned in a historical novel by John Harris titled "So Far From God" set in and around the Mexican Revolution and Civil War up to and into WW1.

Mind you, it shouldn't be taken too seriously, as the main characters are fictional with the political mess of the Mexican aspect of the Great War as the background to a pretty poor story, and so many of the supporting characters could also be fiction, but somehow, it doesn't read like it. Harris usually researches his books pretty thoroughly,

Anyway the whole concept of La Cucaracha being gradually adopted, first by Villa's own supporters as a kind of irreverent song about their hero, then by his co-belligerents as a mocking, less than reverent song, and finally by anybody at all who felt like singing, rings true. Much like any song started by any soldier anywhere really......


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 02 - 09:22 AM

When Joe posted his lyrics, he said:

"And yes, Sandburg has the chorus about the marijuana in his 1926 book."

Joe--marijuana wasn't declared illegal in the US until 1937, so there are many references to it prior to then that don't demonize it. Thought you might like to know.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 03:46 PM

We sang this in grade school, and, there was no mention of "weed". The sanitized version we sang went:

Here's a tune and quite a gay one
Down in Mexico it greets us
When the street musicians play it
This will be the song that greets us

LaCucuarach etc
Paid for dancing in the street
LaCucaracha etc
Sing the chorus then repeat.

Fortunatly, I don't remember any more of it.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 05:19 PM

If you are talking about doing accents in your native format, PLEASE DON'T Windows and Macs use differing characters in the decimal codes. So, I recommend that you use HTML to generate the characters. It's not that difficult. Please bookmark this site:

http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html-spec/html-spec_13.html

On to the song, the last link provides the most verses of the song I've found. ALONG with a translation.

Song/Animation
La Cucaracha
La Cucaracha & Translation


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 08:42 PM

The website provided by George Seto (La Cucaracha and translation) should be bookmarked as one of the best sources of lyrics on the internet (Home Page: Folk Songs ).

In an early posting, Macca noted that the song was taken up by soldiers on both sides. The song crossed the border, and on both sides became the source of numerous parodies about every possible subject. In the 1920s and 1930s (depression era) the song was everywhere in the southwest, in English versions as well as Spanish.
In the "ingeb" site, the parody about "Preparation H" is an example of what may be called "border English" (not enough Spanish to be "spanglish."
Two verses from the American side that I remember from my high school days in New Mexico (about the girls of Albuquerque and Las Vegas- the one about Santa Fe girls is missing) are in the ingeb lyrics.

The women who followed the Villistas included wives, sweethearts and camp followers of more usual type. The women foraged and cooked for the soldiers. At the time, "cucaracha" was applied to the camp followers (some of whom fought alongside the men). They were the poor of rural Mexico.

Verse two at the ingeb.org site is one of the originals:
Pobre de la Cucaracha,
Se queja con deceptión,
De no usar ropa planchaza,
Por la escasez de carbón.
Poor is the Cucaracha, who complains disappointedly, she can't iron the clothes because there is no charcoal (for the irons).
Another:
Ya se van los Carrancistas,
Ya se van por el alambre,
Porque dicen los Villistas,
Que se están muriendo de hambre.

See the Carrancistas,
There they are in the stockade
Because, say the Villistas,
They are starving.
(Bitter reverse humor. Hope the translation is all right)


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 09:53 PM

Original Spanish verses to the song known as "La Cucaracha" may be found in "Crónicas de Una Cucaracha," Cucaracha
The tune is very old; a version published in 1883 concerns the wars against the Moors. The Mexican writer, José Joaquin Fernández de Lizardi, in a book published in 1818, perhaps introduced the song to México:
Un capitán de marina
que vino en una frigata
entre varios sonesitos
trajo el de "La Cucaracha."
In Spain, the song was used during the Carlist wars (1870s).
In Mexico, Napoleon III set Maximilian on the throne in Mexico. The song was used again:
Con las barbas de Forey
voy a hacer un vaquerillo,
pa' ponéselo al caballo
del valiente don Porfirio.

Versions in the postings of this thread date from the Mexican Revolution of 1913.

Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of Spanish would be kind enough to translate parts of this article to complete the story.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 10:34 PM

Could some kind angel add the correct spelling "Cucaracha" to the title of this old thread?


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 10:22 PM

was the reference to Zapata and the automobile possibly a reference to Villa (who also traveled in a model T) having Zapata's body carried back to Chiapas State in a car after his murder?

or have I been smoking too much?

CB


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: GUEST,Cstinn1
Date: 23 May 06 - 12:13 PM

The song, La Cucuracha, is a relection of American and Mexican view of Pancho Villa and his men during the invasion of Mexico by the American Army. Pancho was everywhere, just like cockroaches. He was never caught by the Americans.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 May 06 - 02:19 PM

I've been told by my brother who was told by his Spanish teacher that the "cockroach" was Pancho Villa's Model T Ford. The Villaistas would sing the song when the car ran out of gas and they had to push it.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 24 May 06 - 01:30 PM

Most sources that mention it, ascribe a Dodgge Touring car to be Villa's car - quite similar to the Dodge touring car that had been accepted by the US Army, and that Black Jack Pershing used to chase Villa through the hills.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucarocha / La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Eddyratking
Date: 09 Jun 06 - 12:32 AM

I saw a comedy tv program the other night about music. It refers to a mexican president (I think early 1900s)who was a pot head(liked to smoke a lot of dope). The song was a parody of this president and the way he lived-hence the reference to marijuana in the song!


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 07:45 PM

The version posted far above by Joe Offer is from Chihuahua, and was
printed with musical score in Frances Toor, 1947 (and later printings), "A Treasury of Mexican Folkways," pp. 413-414. It was much copied. 'padre Pancho Villa' or father Pancho Villa is common Mexican slang usage, father means boss, head of group, and the like.


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Subject: RE: Lyric's Needed: 'La Cucarocha'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 08:10 PM

An early version concerns the Spanish conflict with the Moors. Francisco Rodriguez Marí included a version in his monumental "Cantos populares españoles" of 1883:

De la patillas de un moro
tengo que hacer una escoba,
para que barra el quartel
la infantería española.

Del pellejo del rey moro
tengo que hacer un sofí,
paraa que se siente en él
el Capitán General

De las costillas de un moro
me atrevo a formar un puente,
para que pase la España
y su ejército valiente

The cockroach first appeared in a verse by José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, 1818, in his book "La Quijotita y su prima."
Un capitán de marina
que vino en una fragata
entre varios sonesitos
trajo el de "La Cucaracha."

Other verses are included in the article (also linked above), "Crónicas de una cucaracha," Carlos Vidales, Literatura Colombiana.
http://members.tripod.com/~Vidales/CUCARA02.HTM


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Needed: 'La Cucaracha'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 08:36 PM

Translation of the version posted by Joe back in 08 Aug 98:

La Cucaracha
(translation from Frances Toor, 1947)

Chorus_
The cockroach, the cockroach
Can no longer walk,
Because it hasn't, because it hasn't
Marijuana to smoke.

The cockroach is now dead
And is taken to be buried
Between four buzzards
And a rat of a *Sacristan.

With the whiskers of Carranza,
I'm going to make a hat band,
To put it on the sombrero
Of his *father Pancho Villa

A baker went to mass,
Not finding anything to pray for,
He asked the pure Virgin
For Marijuana to smoke.

One thing makes me laugh,
Pancho Villa in his shirt;
Now the Carranzistas are leaving
Because the Villistas are coming.

For sarapes, Saltillo;
Chihuahua, for soldiers;
For women, Jalisco;
For love, everywhere.

*father- Mexican slang for boss. May be applied sarcastically.
*Sacristan- in general, the church hierarchy supported the establishment.
When sung in a group, everyone was invited to contribute a verse.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Needed: 'La Cucaracha'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 01:26 PM

I must be almost as old as Kendall, because I learned this one in school, too (but in Spanish) - and I certainly don't recall singing anything about marijuana. I wish I could remember the words the nuns taught us. Is there a legitimate Spanish version of this song that's suitable for children?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Needed: 'La Cucaracha'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 01:51 PM

Joe asked about a children's version in English. I found one, but it was so insipid, I refuse to copy.

(Besides, is there a kid of school age who doesn't know what marijuana is?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 May 08 - 07:00 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Joe_F
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:13 PM

When I was in elementary school (southern California, 1940s), our songbook had the song in it, including the marihuana.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Monique
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:40 AM

I remember my mother singing the marihuana line as "las dos patitas de atrás" (the two rear legs) but don't ask me where she took it from, I'm sure she doesn't even know either.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 14 May 08 - 10:47 AM

To reinforce a couple things which, though already stated correctly somewhere have been re-stated incorrectly:

Una escena me da risa          One thing gives me a laugh
Pancho Villa sin camisa       Pancho Villa with no shirt (on)

Which is natural, because judging by late pix, Villa hadn't seen his sixpack abs in decades.

Ya se van las Caranzistas      Now Caranza's men are running
Po'rque vienen los Villistas   Because Villa's men are here.

--Literally "are coming," but to fit the meter, I sing it "are here."

It's not just the accent--"why?" is two words, por que?
Because is one word--porque--with the accent on the o.

Verses I may have missed but don't recall seeing above and am too tired to SEARCH are these--

Mi vecina de enfrente          My neighbor cross the way
Se llamaba Don~a Clara         Is a girl named Don~a Clara,
Y si no habia muerto          And if she hasn't died yet,
Es probable se llamara         She'll be known as that tomorrow.

Maybe pure nonsense, but possibly the intimation is that poor D.C. is rather plain; her name will not change because no one will marry her.

Las muchachas de la villa      All the girls in the city
No saben ni dar un beso       Don't know nothing about kissing,
Cuando las de Albuquerque      While the ones in Albuquerque
Hasta estiran la pezqueso      Stretch their necks to keep
                                        from missing.

La, not el, with body parts. See "Levante las manos!" schtick in "Our Man From Havana."

La muchachas de Las Vegas      All the girls in Las Vegas
Son muy altas, delgaditas      They are tall and very skinny,
Pero son mas perdiguen~as      But they're worse for plaintive
                                       pleading
Que las animas benditas.       Than the souls in Purgatory.

Please--benditas. Please, dude, do not repeat the egregious mistake of thinking because we're talking bandits that it must be banditas, which actually would mean little flags. Benditas. Sorry, I'm overly retentive on this point.

The car thing? Necesita automovil ....
I have another take on it: GTA I. Zapata is still alive when the verse is sung. You know that because he has ordered his followers to meet at a certain place & now they have to go there. But amigo, it is very far, no? Si. I think it is so far, we need an automovil to get there, no? Si. Here comes a rich person now, driving one--let's take his, what do you say? Si!

There should be accents on all those si's too.

Anyway, that's a long enough post for one day.

Chicken Charlie, aka Don Carlos de Pollo y Huevos Revueltos


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Q as guest
Date: 14 May 08 - 11:37 AM

This very old song from Spain has accumulated myriad verses since it came to the New World.

Hadn't heard the two verses from New Mexico since I left Santa Fé many years ago.
The Las Vegas, of course, is Las Vegas, New Mexico, not that other place.

Porque - because
por qué - why? (interrogatively)
porqué - cause, reason (motive)
A troublesome word if accents and spacings are ignored. Por qué was always colloquially rendered as 'For why?' in northern New Mexico when English was being spoken.

amar - to love, to like, to fancy
amor- love, fancy, affection
para amar, toditos lados- not para amor as commonly written. Joe has it correctly.

Other verses from New Mexico (and also used elsewhere?), possibly from versions pre-Villa- from a manuscript by Charles F. Lummis.

Una cucaracha pinta
le dijo a una colorada,
Vamonos para mi tierra
a pasar la temporada.

Todas las muchachas tienen
en los ojos dos estrellas
pero las mejicanitas
de seguro son mas bellas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 14 May 08 - 06:31 PM

For the sake of those who earlier asked for translations, let me take a shot at these last and then Q-as-guest can make corrections:

  Todas las muchachas tienen         All the girls have
En los [las?] ojos dos estrellas   Two stars in their eyes,
Pero las mejicanitas               But the little Mexican girls
De seguro son mas bellas.          Are certainly the most beautiful.

Una cucaracha pinta                A painted cockroach
Le dijo' a una colorada            Told a red one
Vamonos para mi tierra             Let's go to my place
A pasar la temporada.             To pass some time.

Does a "red cockroach" have political overtones? Are we talking a Leftist cockroach? Or is this whole verse best rendered, "'My, my, my,' said the spider to the fly?"

Chicken Charlie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Guest is Q
Date: 14 May 08 - 08:04 PM

I don't think there are any political overtones in the NM verse. I remember that there was a version sung to children and I think these two verses are from that one, but I don't remember any of the song.
In New Mexico, pinto usually means 'spotted,' but painted is OK too.

Two stars in their eyes is, I think, correct. The line in Spanish might have been incorrectly rendered by Loomis. On the other hand, New Mexico has some peculiar idioms surviving from Spain of 400 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 14 May 08 - 08:09 PM

Yeah, sure,--as in "pinto pony." Shoulda thought of that.

Lummis was a good guy & devoted song collector, although I've been told he had such a limited range, he really did play EVERYTHING in C.

Chicken Charlie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:37 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,peter schoeffel
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 03:02 AM

during the time of dictator franco spanish school chldren had to skip the marijuana and sang "las patitas de atras".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Monique
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 05:41 AM

So that would be why my mother would sing it this way. She would also sing a verse going

Cuando Rita se bañaba            When Rita was bathing
En el río San Fernando          In the San Fernando river
Le picó la cucaracha             The cockroack stung her
Pero ella siguió nadando         But she kept swimming

and guys, I type Alt 160 to 165 to get the Spanish special characters, doesn't it work the same on your keyboards?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 01:59 PM

Monique, the Alt characters work for you (your verse about Rita), but not for me. Instead, I use the HTML characters, which can be used directly with my Microsoft Windows.

n tilde- ñ (& and # plus 241 and semicolon)

If I type ALT 164 (tilde on ALT list) I get nada (nothing).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Monique
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 02:29 PM

Q, thanks for the info. The Alt characters don't work on my laptop either unless I use a number pad but on the "normal" computer I'm glad they do, and I tend to forget (among other things) that all computers don't work the same. So let's be happy Spanish has so few special characters!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: GUEST,Senora Carlota
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 07:18 AM

I believe "una cucaracha pinta" means "a painted (lady)".
'Ladies of the night' are referred as "painted ladys".
So we know what they were doing "to pass some time".
I love this site!! I just wanted the verses to the song and I
found a lot of history and supposition. The supposition is the
most fun. Muchas Gracias! Senora Carlota


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 01:19 PM

The post from Senora Carlota is a reminder that the word cucaracha was applied to people deemed 'undesirable' as well as to the ubiquitous insect.
In Mexico, it can be a pushy beggar, a hanger-on, a petty thief, a turncoat, a hated person (the Federalist General and dictator Huerta), etc.

I remember the 'painted ladies' of Barcelona, with their fancy eyeglasses that resembled butterfly wings, hence the name "mariposa."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 08:29 PM

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
Ya no puede caminar,
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Dinero para gustar


or so the Josephites taught.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 09:10 PM

Gee, I wasn't aware that Canon van Crombrugghe taught that! Josephites came to America to work with the freed slaves and encourage Catholicism.

And I don't think a cockroach needed money in order to have a good time. That last line belongs to a different copla.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: La Cucaracha
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 10:06 PM

I found SINSULL's verse- copla no. 9506 in Cancionero Folklórico de México:
the last line is 'dinero para gastar,' meaning money to spend. The meaning is not much different with 'gustar,' so perhaps it was used that way too.

Tomorrow I will post 30 verses of "La Cucaracha Viajera," which appeared in Mexico City in 1916. A 'whole nother' song. But related.


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