Los esqueletos - Costa Rican Children's Songs - Costa Rica - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

This is an action-song, children can change the movements or change the lyrics as they want.

I asked Lilliana if this song is sung throughout the year, or if it's a song for a specific holiday in Costa Rica. (For example, in the U.S., songs about skeletons are often for Halloween. In Mexico, they're sometimes for The Day of the Dead celebration.)

Lilliana wrote back, "The song is sung anytime. We don't have the Mexican tradition, and Halloween has been brought from outside, and it is not fostered within the school system, but we use the song because it is a little bit 'scary' (which make children excited!) and to teach the numbers, and because it has movements."

Comments

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Here's an alternate loose translation I wrote with my husband, Jason Pomerantz. We tried to make it singable to the tune:

The Skeletons

When the old clock, we hear it strike one,
Out from their dark tombs, all the skeletons come,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".*

When the old clock, we hear it strike two,
White skeletons, two, gobble up rice, it's true,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike three,
White skeletons, three, turn upside down, you see,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike four,
White skeletons, four, pass the theater door,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike five,
White skeletons, five, jump high into the sky,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba"?.

When the old clock, we hear it strike six,
White skeletons, six, play chess as the clock ticks,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike seven,
White skeletons, seven, rocket up to heaven,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike eight,
White skeletons, eight, eat up all the sponge cake,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike nine,
White skeletons, nine, shake their bodies in time,
"Tumba, ke tumba, ke tumba, tumba, tumba".

When the old clock, we hear it strike ten,
White skeletons, ten, lie down sleeping again. (Slow down.)

*Literally: "Tomb, which tomb, which tomb, tomb, tomb."

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Thanks also to Lilliana for the mp3 recording.

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Lilliana for contributing and translating this song provided by Rosa María Solís Marín from Costa Rica.

Image by Lila and Lisa.

¡Muchas gracias!

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