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LyricsAndean music
Land of winds > Music > Lyrics | Issue 04. Mar.-Apr.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Sirviñaco
(Jaime Dávalos – Eduardo Falú)

Even though this song is not traditional, the following bailecito is, alongside “Viva Jujuy”, “El humahuaqueño” and “El quebradeño”, among the most popular and widely performed Andean style songs in Argentina. Its title refers to a custom in the Andes, the servinakuy (hispanicized as “servinaco” or “sirviñaco”), in which a young couple’s relationship –or even not that young– is put to the test by sharing home, bed and food for a certain period of time after which they should decide whether they want to marry (or not). After the stipulated period, both parties and their families gather together and agree on the couple getting married or, on the contrary, breaking up. On many occasions these couples have a child before the period of premarital cohabitation, “sirviñaco”, is over: if the marriage is not celebrated, the children remain with their mother.
The lyrics are written in a very peculiar Spanish which tries to imitate, quite realistically, the regional variant spoken in northwest Argentina (notice the use of terms such as “tatas” and “changuito” to designate “parents” and “child” respectively). The song mentions the village of Sumalao, which is located in the province of Catamarca, and also refers to the harvest of tobacco, an agricultural activity that, besides sugar cane, employs most of this province’s rural population.

Yo te he dicho nos casimos, / vos diciendo que tal vez.
Sería bueno que probimos / ma’ ver eso qué tal es.
Te propongo sirviñaco / si tus tatas dan lugar.
Pa’ la alzada del tabaco / vamonos a trabajar.
Te he’i comprar ollita nueva / en la feria i’ Sumalao.
Es cuestión de hace la prueba / de vivirnos amañaos.

[I’ve asked you to marry me, / and you have told me that maybe.
We should give it a try / and see how it turns out.
I am going to make you a sirviñaco proposition / if your parents agree.
The tobacco harvest awaits / let’s go to work.
I’ll buy you a new casserole / in the Sumalao market.
Come on, let’s try / to live together prior to marriage.]

Y si tus tatas se enteran / ya tendrán consolación
que todas las cosas quieren / con el tiempo la ocasión.
Y si Dios nos da un changuito / a mi no me ha de faltar
voluntad pa’ andar juntitos / ni valor pa’ trabajar.
Te propongo como seña / pa’ saber si me querís
cuando vas a juntar leña / silbame como perdiz.

[Once your parents know the situation / they will overcome it
for everything happens in / its own good time.
And if God give us a child / I’ll find the way
to stay together / and the courage to work.
I propose that you give me signal / that let’s me know if you love me.
next time you go to collect firewood / whistle like a partridge.]

Song 01. "Sirviñaco", by Inti Illimani.
Song 02. "Sirviñaco", by Duratierra.
Song 03. "Sirviñaco", by Cristian Guzmán.
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