Baby Boomer Magazine Unveils the Little-known Roots of Cielito Lindo and La Bamba

New issue of http://www.WatchBoom.com, the monthly online travel magazine for Baby Boomers, reveals that the lyrics to Cielto Lindo is a far cry from a catchy ballad about a pretty girl. Get authentic travel news only available here.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend

Image by Shannon Garcia courtesy of NEWSED CDC

I'll bet most of our readers will be really surprised to learn Cielto Lindo is a far cry from a catchy ballad about a pretty girl. True, it's about a girl, but the song is more about how she was smuggled out of the bandit-infested Sierra Morena mountains.

Denver, CO (PRWEB) February 07, 2014

Regardless of where you are, whether in Denver, Des Moines, Dresden or Darwin, when the band plays Cielito Lindo, chances are most people there can sing along with that timeless Mexican ballad – or at least belt out its familiar ay-ay-ay-ay chorus. So what if they've never been to Mexico. And even if they have no idea what “Sierra Morena” means in “From the Sierra Morena,” the first line of the song. Or why the eyes of the lady in the song are called “contraband.”

The new issue of WatchBoom (http://www.WatchBoom.com), a free monthly travel magazine for baby boomers, today unveiled the back story of the song in an exclusive article, “What's the Mexican folk song Cielito Lindo all about? How about La Bamba?“

Says WatchBoom publisher Nancy Clark, “I'll bet most of our readers will be really surprised to learn Cielto Lindo is a far cry from a catchy ballad about a pretty girl. True, it's about a girl, but the song – first published in 1882 – is more about how she was smuggled (thus the word “contraband”) out of the bandit-infested Sierra Morena mountains in 17th century Spain.”

Like most Latin golden oldies, says Clark, “Cielito Lindo has lots of versions, and about as many meanings as there are experts to tell us what they're all about.”

She adds: “Our article also tells the back story of another popular Mexican ballad called La Bamba, which is actually an old song – although no one knows who wrote it or when – that was reinvented as a rock hit by singer Ritchie Valens in 1958.”

The song is best known as a happy Mexican wedding dance, although one version of the lyrics tells the story of a young man who loved and lost, and who turned up being anything but happy at his ex-girlfriend's wedding. The song ends this way: “Oh I ask you out of compassion, that La Bamba end and another song start.”

What's known for sure about the song is that it's a classic son jarocho tune from the Gulf of Mexico city of Veracruz, and that it's typically plucked out on a gut-string harp backed by three or so guitars.

WatchBoom contributor Bob Schulman, who wrote the article, says people down in Veracruz “have been known to cringe when they hear Ritchie's rock version.”

What's the meaning of La Bamba's iconic words, “I am not a sailor, I am a captain?” Ask that question in Veracruz, Schulman says, and the answer you most often get is, quien sabe (“who knows”).”

Published monthly since May 2009, Denver-based WatchBoom features articles by 14 veteran travel journalists including the former travel editors of a number of major newspapers and national magazines.


Contact