Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Drume negrita
(Cuban Kids Song)

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Many thanks to Evelyn for contributing this following song. Evelyn wrote: "This is a song that is difficult to translate because it was written trying to imitate the original African slaves slang. They were brought to Cuba by the Spanish to work mostly in the sugar cane fields."

Drume negrita
Sleep My Little Black Baby
Canción infantil
(Spanish)
Children's Song
(English)

Drume negrita - Cuban Children's Songs - Cuba - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Intro Image


Drume negrita
Que yo va a comprar nueva cunita
Que tendrá capite' y también ca'cabe'
Si tu drume yo te traigo un mamey muy colorao
Si no drume yo te traigo un babalao
Que da pau pau

A la negrita se le salen
Los pies de la cunita
Y la negra Merce' ya no sabe que hace'
Drume negrita
Que yo va a compra' nueva cunita
Que tendrá capite' y también ca'cabe'
Si tú drume yo te traigo un mamey muy colorao'
Si no drume yo te traigo un babalao'
Que da pau pau.

Sleep my little black baby
And I will buy for you a new baby crib
That should have a top cap and also a rattle (1)
If you sleep I will bring you a very red mamey (2)
If you don't I will bring you a babalao (3)
That will give you pau pau (4).

The feet of the little black baby
Come out of her crib
And the black Merce' doesn't know what to do
Sleep my little black baby
And I will buy for you a new baby crib
That should have a top cap and also a rattle
If you sleep I will bring you a very red mamey
If you don't I will bring you a babalao
That will give you pau pau.

Notes

(1) Ca'cabe' (Cascabel) for a child is a rattle (not a bell).
(2) A mamey is a type of fruit that grows in Cuba
(3) A babalao is a Santeria priest
(4) Pau means stick. Dar pau pau means to give a spanking.

*****

Here are the original lyrics:

Mamá la negrita
se le salen lo pie e' la cunita
y la negra Merce'
ya no sabe que hace'.

Tu drume negrita
que yo va' compra' nueva cunita
que va' tené capite'
que va' tené cajcabel.

Si tu drumi yo te traigo un mamey
muy colorao'
y si no drumi yo te traigo un babalao
que da pau pau.

Tu drume negrita
que yo va' compra' nueva cunita
que va' tené capite'
que va' tené cajcabel.

Interludio

Si tu drumi yo te traigo un mamey
muy colorao'
y si no drumi yo te traigo un babalao
que da pau pau.
Tu drume negrita
que yo va' compra' nueva cunita
que va' tené capite'
que va' tené cajcabel.(2)

Comments

This song is often heard performed by Bola de Nieve.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Evelyn for contributing and translating this song and for sending me this wonderful Cuban children's drawing. Many thanks to Nydia Otero for sending the original version.

¡Muchas gracias!

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