What I learned Today #3: Cielito Lindo

Despite having plenty of access to Latino culture as a resident of a major metropolis, I still have not for the life of me been able to learn much Mexican folk music. You know, the songs that define the culture for an entire nation, yet here in America they’re rudely appropriated from their original context to sell stuff or in an attempt to be funny. You know: “I dance! I dance! I dance! Upon a Mexican hat!”

Recognition usually comes to me out of the blue. Today I’m listening to ancient records on WFMU’s “Antique Phonograph Music Program” for Jan 13. The announcer intros a song from 1924 he calls “Beautiful Heaven.” It’s a Latin tinged orchestra instrumental, which suddenly leads into the familiar chorus of “Ay, Yi, Yi, Yi!” Hey! I know this tune. Some searching around the title finally informs me that yes, it is a Mexican folk tune, originally titled “Cielito Lindo.”

As the Wikipedia article I linked to will inform you younger kids, this tune is better known to us Anglos of a certain age as the “Frito Bandito” song. Hope I can remember at least its proper title when I hear it again.

Frito Bandito

Yes, as a kid I had a sticker with this artwork on my dresser drawer.