Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Creepy Crawlies : La Cucaracha

Orquesta Pajaro Azul : La Cucaracha


One of my "bubbling under" songs of the drug week, "La Cucaracha" (the cockroach in Spanish), finally makes its way here. A satiric corrido (Mexican ballad) of obscure origin (see here) it lived through different eras of Mexican history and especially the revolution of 1910-1929.

The cucaracha, as in English, is a weed joint. Some say the chorus as it is known nowadays "La Cucaracha, la cucaracha ya no puede caminar" (the cockroach, the cockroach cannot go forward), "por que notiene, porque le falta, marijuana que fumar" (because he lacks, because he lacks, marijuana to smoke) was written by Pancho Villa supporters and was referring to President Victoriano Huerta, "a notorious drunk and weed addict who was considered a villain and traitor due to his part in the death of revolutionary President Francisco Madero" (Wikipedia). Huerta was said to wear big dark glasses and a long coat which made him look like the abhorred insect.

Then every faction wrote its own version of the song, "La Cucaracha Carransista", "La Cucaracha Porifirsta", "La Cucaracha Villista" and even a cucaracha which could not go forward because it lacked coca cola (porque le falta coca cola que tomar)!

The catchy melody made it a favourite all around the world and perhaps the most popular Mexican song abroad.

This Tejano version was recorded in San Antonio by Bluebird in 1934. I love its old-fashioned sound, with trumpets and strings.

Read more about the context ofthat recording and "Corridos de la revolucion" here in this great article I found on the Web.

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