Multicultural & Non-English Songbook

La Guacamaya

Music Traditional , lyrics by Jay Sand based upon traditional themes and improvisations

©2014 Jay Sand

“La Gucamaya,” a son jarocho (regional folk music style) classic from Veracruz in Mexico, is much more than just any old Spanish song about a bird. A guacamaya is a parrot, though All Around This World can’t say exactly what kind of parrots exist in Veracruz. Instruments particular to son jarocho include a jarana, a quijada (a donkey jawbone used for percussion, which is what Jay played during the recording), a requinto, a mariumbula, a harp and a wooden dancing platform known as a tarima that the musicians actually consider a percussion instrument and factor into the arrangement of son jarocho songs.


Jarana: guitar shaped stringed instrument used in the Veracruz region

Requinto: another small guitar-shaped instrument

Mariumbula: "Cuban bass" --Mbira or Kalimba-type instrument with plucked metal tines


Pobrecito guacamaya, you’re a hungry little bird
You’re a hungry little bird pobrecito guacamaya
Pobrecito guacamaya, I will share my food with you
If you only help me too, pobrecito guacamaya
Fly, fly, fly, can you teach me how to fly?
Pobrecito guacamaya, we can leave the world behind
Vuela, vuela, vuela, can you teach me how to fly?
Pobrecito guacamaya, we can leave the world behind.

Dance along with "La Guacamaya" using son jarocho dance moves (and a smile!). Suggestions for how to make it work are in this video

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