Cielito Lindo is one of the prettiest Mexican tunes that I have heard. It’s a real tear jerker. Scratch that. Cielito Lindo is one of the prettiest tunes I have ever heard, period.
When we got in the car to head to Casa Bonita, I though, “I should go get my fiddle so that I can play my fiddle tune a day with the mariachis there.” Then I thought, “Nah, I don’t need to drag my fiddle around tonight.”
So we got in the car, and drove for a couple of miles, and I said, “I really should have brought my fiddle with me to play with the mariachis.” And Christina said, “Of course you should have. Let’s go get it.” And, I’m so glad we did.
I got to play a bunch of tunes with Mariachis Mexico, the house mariachi band at Casa Bonita. I may even post a few more of them on my site, but for now, this is the only one.
Cielito Lindo according to Wikipedia
“Cielito lindo” is a popular Ranchera song from Mexico, written in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés (c. 1859–1957). It is roughly translated as “Lovely Sweet One”. Although the word “cielo” means sky or heaven, it is also a term of endearment comparable to sweetheart or honey. “Cielito”, the diminutive, can be translated as “sweetie”; “lindo” means cute, lovely or pretty. Sometimes the song is known by words from the refrain, “Canta y no llores”.
Commonly played by mariachi bands, it has been recorded by many artists in the original Spanish as well as in English and other languages. In recent decades it has come to be widely known as a theme song for Mexicans, particularly at international events, like the FIFA World Cup.
Lyrics vary widely from performer to performer and every singer is free to add some new verse to his or her own interpretation. Some of the most traditional lyrics are the following:
|Spanish||Literal English translation||Metaphoric English translation|
|De la Sierra Morena,
Cielito lindo, vienen bajando,
Un par de ojitos negros,
Cielito lindo, de contrabando.
Pájaro que abandona,
Ese lunar que tienes,
Si tu boquita, morena,
De tu casa a la mía,
Una flecha en el aire,
|From the Sierra Morena,
Pretty darling, they come down,
a pair of black eyes,
Pretty little heaven, which are contraband.
Bird that abandons,
That mole you have
If your little mouth, dark one,
From your house to mine
An arrow in the air
|Through dark tresses, heavenly one,
a pair of deep brown eyes,
lower as they approach,
a stolen glance.
A bird that abandons
That beauty mark you have
If your little mouth, my dark girl,
From your house to mine
Cupid shot off an arrow,
In the article “¡Hasta que me cayó el veinte!” Mr. Ortega Morán discusses the origins of the first verse of this song. His research discovered that in the early 17th century, armed bandits took refuge in the Sierra Morena mountains of Spain and that people feared for their lives when they had to travel through the region. The words of the first verse of “Cielito Lindo” were found in a song from that era, hinting at that fear. But with time the meaning of the verse changed as people began romanticizing it. “Your face is the Sierra Morena. Your eyes are thieves who live there.” The verse had other melodies put to it and variations on the lyrics. Mr. Quirino Mendoza, the composer, adapted the verse to his own melody and gave us the song we know today.
The song has been subject to many versions:
- Voodoo Glow Skulls, a ska punk band from California, do a cover on their album Exitos Al Cabron (1999).
- Pedro Infante sang it in the 1947 Mexican film Los tres García. He also had the lead role in the film
- In 1963, Trini Lopez released a very famous Spanish version of the song, on his album Trini Lopez at PJ’s
- In 1982, popular Puerto Rican boy band Menudo covered this song for performances in Mexico, only. It was finally released in 1983, but only on the album Adios Miguel.
- Other Spanish versions include: Irma Vila y su Mariachi, Los Lobos, and Placido Domingo alongside Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras. In 2006 it was recorded by Ana Gabriel.
- There are instrumental versions as well most notably by Mantovani
- Cuban Rumba band leader and actor, Desi Arnaz performed the song’s refrain several times on the television goes he fears no foe cause he’s Emilio.
- “Richard Allen George…No, It’s Just Cheez“: The song “Richard Allen George…No, It’s Just Cheez” by Less Than Jake ends with a sing-along about mustaches, to the melody of “Cielito Lindo.”
- Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo included it in his third album Oy. His version features Golshifteh Farahani as co-singer. Within the song, he included some poems by Shamloo and Molana.
Cielito lindo huasteco
“Cielito Lindo” should not be confused with another popular and traditional song called “Cielito lindo huasteco” also known as “Cielito lindo” from La Huasteca in Mexico. This song distinctly different from the common version above has been played by many Conjunto huastecos, as it is considered one of the most popular Son Huasteco or Huapango songs.
Sometimes mariachi bands perform both versions of the “Cielito Lindo” and “Cielito lindo huasteco” which are completely different, thus creating some confusion about both.