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    Land of winds > Music > Lyrics | Issue 11 (Jul.-Aug.2012)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Carnival songs from Jujuy

(Traditional)

Coplas carnavaleras de Jujuy

The popular folk songs ("coplas" in Spanish) performed in Jujuy (north-western Argentina) both during the Carnival of the Quebrada de Humahuaca and other celebrations, can be adapted to various rhythms (e.g. anateadas, huaynos/carnavalitos, vidalas, marches...). While some of them are native to this region, others are borrowings from Bolivian and Peruvian folk music, and most of them have been recorded by different folkloric ensembles including Luna Jujeña, Ricardo Vilca, Fortunato Ramos and the group Cacharpaya, Los Tekis, Tomás Lipán and Jaime Torres and his band.

One of the best known series of coplas was composed by the "Comparsa Juventud Alegre", famous formation born in the town of Humahuaca.

    ¿Qué les parece, señores?
      Soy de la Juventud Alegre
    ¡Ha llegado el Carnaval!
      ¡Que viva nuestra comparsa!

    [What do you think, gentlemen?
      I am part of Juventud Alegre
    The Carnival has come!
      Three cheers for our comparsa [a carnival musical group]!]

    Ahora no hay que sentarse,
      Soy de la Juventud Alegre
    todo es cantar y bailar.
      ¡Que viva nuestra comparsa!

    [It is not time to sit down,
      I am part of Juventud Alegre
    everything is singing and dancing
      Three cheers for our comparsa!]

There are other coplas, usually executed to the rhythm of carnavalito by most part of the groups of the province of Jujuy, which share the lyrics with an old Bolivian huayno based on a traditional song first sung in different parts of Spain (from Teruel to Seville).

    Si las piedras de tu calle tuvieran
    entendimiento,
    cada vez que yo pasara, lloraran
    con sentimiento.

    [If the stones of your street had
    intelligence,
    each time I was passing by, they would cry
    with emotion.]

    Me has dicho que no me quieres, ingrata,
    para dejarme.
    Cada vez que yo pasara, lloraran
    con sentimiento.

    [You have told me you don't love me, ingrate,
    for you to leave me.
    Each time I was passing by, they would cry
    with emotion.]

Another favourite for musicians of Jujuy is the Bolivian huayno "Tesoro, tesorito".

    Un corazón como el mío nunca ha de faltar.
    Porque te he querido tanto me has pagado mal.
    Tesoro, tesorito,
    porque te he querido tanto me has pagado mal.

    [A heart like mine can't be missing.
    For having loved you so much, I've been badly paid
    Treasure, little treasure,
    For having loved you so much, I've been badly paid.]

Sometimes, coplas are interwoven one with another. During the Carnival of Humahuca it is not strange to listen to combinations of them like the following one with sections by "La Juventud Alegre" and others from "Cuculi madrugadora", a traditional song characteristic of the Carnival of Ayacucho (Peru).

    Que les parece señores,
      Cuculi madrugadora
    Ya ha llegado el carnaval
      a las cinco de la mañana.

    [What do you think, gentlemen,
      early cuculi [a bird]
    the Carnival has come.
      at five in the morning.]

    Domingo, lunes y martes,
      Cuculi madrugadora
    miércoles se ha de acabar.
      a las cinco de la mañana.

    [Sunday, Monday and Tuesday,
      Early cuculi
    on Wednesday is over.
      at five in the morning.]

Finally, two of the most sung songs at the Carnival of Humahuca are, no doubt, the carnavalitos titled "El humahuaqueño" and "El quebradeño", both composed by Edmundo Zaldívar.

    Llegando está el Carnaval
    quebradeño mi cholita (bis).

    [The Carnival quebradeño [from the Quebrada de Humahuca]
    is coming my cholita [young woman] (bis)]

    Fiesta de la quebrada
    humahuaqueña para cantar.
    Erque, charango y bombo,
    carnavalito para bailar.

    [Festival of the quebrada
    humahuaqueña [from Humahuaca] to sing.
    Erque, charango and bombo,
    carnavalito to dance.]

    Quebradeño a mí me dicen
    porque nací en la quebrada.
    Carnavalito de mi querer,
    toda la rueda venga a bailar.

    [Quebradeño is what they call me
    for I was born in the quebrada
    My beloved carnavalito,
    come everybody to dance around in a circle.]

    Porque soy como mis cerros,
    curtido por la nevada.
    Carnavalito de mi querer,
    toda la rueda venga a bailar.

    [For I resemble my mountains,
    weather-beating by the snowfall.
    My beloved carnavalito,
    Come everybody to dance around in a circle.]


Article. Comparsa La Juventud Alegre [es].
Article. Cancionero tradicional ayacuchano [e].


Video 01. "La Juventud Alegre", by Tomás Lipán (low quality).
Video 02. "Si las calles de tu pueblo..." and other carnavalitos jujeños (with origins in the province of Jujuy, Argentina), by Los Tekis.
Video 03. "El humahuaqueño / El quebradeño", by Los Nocheros.
Video 04. "El humahuaqueño", by Los Tekis.


Picture A.


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