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La Bamba

The Frozen French Dessert
[Ed. note: "Bombe," carried into Spanish as "Bambe" or "Bamba," is a frozen confection, usually made of ice cream or fruit juices. Clearly, the "Bamba" was important in folk-religious celebrations.]

Para bailar la Bamba
If you want to buy the dessert
Para bailar la Bamba se necesita
If you want to buy the dessert, you will need
una poca de gracia
A bit of rice
[Ed. note: Owing to its cultural importance, rice was used as a barter currency in many agrarian regions of Mexico and Central America. Its significance was later superceded by the more durable and versatile soybean.]
una poca de gracia y otra cosita ay arriba y arriba
Some rice, and a corset. Happy happy.
ay arriba y arriba por ti sere yo no soy marinero
Happy, happy. For tea, I will not have soy sauce.
[Ed. note: A very strong statement. "To not have soy sauce", idiomatically, meant that the soybean, an exchangable commodity, was being saved for something more important--in this case, either the audience of the song, presumably a young lady, or the french dessert.]
yo no soy marinero soy capitan soy capitan soy capitan
I will not have soy sauce. Soy is money, soy is money, soy is money.
[Ed. note: Lit, "Soy is capital." In this context ambiguous, as it might also mean "Soy is a local officer in charge of a precinct," but this seems unlikely. The full importance of the soybean in Spanish folk culture has yet to be fully explored by ethnoanthromusicologists.]

Bamba la Bamba
Dessert, the dessert, et cetera
Bamba la Bamba
Bamba la Bamba
Bamba la Bamba

Para subir al cielo
Because it is under the ceiling
para subir al cielo se necesita
Because it is under the ceiling, we will need
una escalera larga
a very large staircase.
[Ed. note: This may relate to the practice of hiding soybeans, rice, and other trade comestibles under the large ceiling lamp, which kept them warm, dry, and conveniently out of reach of thieves.]
una escalera larga y otra cosita ay arriba y arriba
A very large staircase, and a corset. Happy happy.
ay arriba y arriba contigo ire yo no soy marinero
Happy, happy. Don't be angry with me, I do not have soy sauce.
yo no soy marinero soy capitan soy capitan soy capitan
I do not have soy sauce, Soy is money, soy is money.
Bamba la Bamba ...

Traditionaly, ethnoanthromusicologists have viewed this strange song as a wedding feast celebration. The singer is preparing to purchase an expensive frozen dessert. It is scarcely necessary to point out how rare and luxurious ice cream was in the heart of Mexico, before the electric freezer. The singer is, therefore willing to use all his soy and rice to purchase the "Bombe" for his beloved. And he is very happy about this, and suggests that, for his generosity, she wears a corset.

This song may have been performed before weddings or during wedding parties, perhaps to entice the bride into tight-fitting garments.

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
krrayn
Sep. 19th, 2005 07:11 am (UTC)
priceless. Absolutely priceless.
spottylogic
Sep. 19th, 2005 07:14 am (UTC)
Yay! Actually, it cost my company about $2.45, I'm at work :)
krrayn
Sep. 19th, 2005 07:16 am (UTC)
A small price to pay as investment for the furthering of cultural understanding between nations.
spottylogic
Sep. 19th, 2005 07:19 am (UTC)
I think I'm going to do "Jalisco" next.
skullfaced
Sep. 19th, 2005 01:17 pm (UTC)
But doesn't "bailar" mean "to dance?"
spottylogic
Sep. 19th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC)
*tsk* Well, yes, but translation is a subtle art. You're missing the idiomatic expression angle.
skullfaced
Sep. 19th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
Very true. Although I can speak /some/ spanish, I am nowhere near fluent
spottylogic
Sep. 19th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
I failed it twice in high school, took level 1 twice in college, so I've had basic Spanish four times--I can't *speak* it, but I can make the bad jokes :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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