The first lines of this song are basically nonsense, though "de un fandango" is a lively Spanish couples dance.


*The 3rd line, "Sabaré que va pasando" can be found as the following:

"Sabaré que va cantando" (Sabare that goes singing)
or "Sabare de farandela/ de parandela / de barandela/ de tarantela" (which is meaningless)

**These two lines can be found as:

Bartolo tocó la flauta (Bartolo played the flute)
Con un agujero solo (With only one hole)


Valentín tenía un violín (Valentin had a violin)
y con él se divertía (and he would have fun with it.)


The Meaning of Some of the Words

According to ethnomusicologist Rolando Pérez, the words "Sango" (zango in the version above) and "Sabare" are of African origin. "Sango" comes from "Sangu" in the Kimbundu and Kikongo-Bantu languages, meaning "happily". "Sabare" comes from "seve", "sevela" or "sevelela" in Kimbundu and means "to mock." -Interview with Rolando Pérez from December 13, 2000 as reported in "Mujeres de origen africano en la capital novohispana, siglos XVII y XVIII" by María Elisa Velázquez Gutiérrez (page 190).

I also asked our Spanish translator, Monique Palomares about "triqui triqui tran". Here's what she wrote:

"The Spanish onomatopoeia 'triqui-triqui' or 'triqui tran' is used to mimic the noise of a shaking/bouncing vehicle or the noise of a motor or the noise of train wheels. There's a train in the 2nd verse."

There are two books that wrote specifically about the meaning of "triqui triqui tran" as found in another rhyme called "Aserrín Aserrán". They are "The Literature of Spanish America: A Critical Anthology" by Angel Flores (1968) and the book, "The Colonial Period to the Beginnings of Modernism" by Helene M. Anderson (1974). Here's what they both wrote:

"...triqui tran are just sounds providing the rhythm of the game."

Game Instructions

The children sit in a circle on the floor, each one has in front of him a stone, a wooden stick, or any kind of object that can make a noise when beaten on the floor. As they sing, they pass their objects to the child on their right. When they come to the line, "con su triqui, triqui, tran" they beat the object in front of their friend on the right, then beat it again in front of themselves, and only on the third pass do they drop it in front of the friend.


Rhianna Barr sent the following version with the note: "This is a little Mexican 'stone game' I learned at summer camp..."

Al citrón de un fandango,
Sango sango,
Sabaré sabaré,
De la arandela,
Con su triqui triqui tron.


Readers Comments about the Meaning of some of the Words

Ariel wrote:

"Just want to note that this isn't a 'nonsense' song - some of the words are wrong ; such as tran is to be tren and sabare is to be soborare

Translated the song is about :

A party full of lemon candy (Acitron) but there is a lot of pudding (Sobarare); A LOT and they don't want it! and they want to put the pudding on the clicky clacky train (triqui triqui tren) as it passes by...

The passing of the objects is the train ; as we click clack them!

Here's a breakdown:

Acitrón = Candied Lemon, Lemon Candy - Lemon dried and made into sweetmeat; candied lemon.
Fandango = Dance Fandango, a lively Spanish dance the music to this dance.

Zango is to be "SANGO" = yucca and maize pudding
Sabare' is to be "SOBRARE"= to be left over, to be spare (in future tense)

pasando = to pass
triqui/ Trique = crack; Loud, sharp noise
tran is to be "tren" = Train

"Acitrón de un fandango"
A Candied Lemon Dance

"sango, sango, sobrare"
lot's of maize pudding left over...

"Sobrare que va pasando"
lot's of it passes by

Con su triqui, triqui, tren"
on a noisy train

To sum it up: there's a party full of lemon candy .... & pudding, a lot of nasty pudding or they rather just eat the candy.... so the people pass the pudding by so there's a lot left over and they put it on the noisy trains that pass by."

Monique responded to the previous comment as follows:

"I agree that acitrón is candied citron. [Later we found it's actually candied biznaga cactus. Biznaga is now a protected species. It's found in Mexico and can take 14 – 40 years to grow.]

I can find no reference to the phrase 'soborare' or 'sobarare' anywhere.

Renee wrote: "The word sabare is not in the Dictionary. Even though I was informed that it refers to an African term from the songs that the nannies (slaves or emigrants) would sing to the American children.

It's not related to the verb sobrar, I think!"

Camilo wrote: "Without any very clear and obvious back-up, it's speculation. If we go for speculations, the words 'sabaré' and 'sango' are generally considered to be African words that came to Mexico through lullabies and they 'might' mean: sabaré, 'to laugh up one's sleeve' and the word 'sando' which led to 'sango', 'to go/walk stealthily'. "


We welcome more info about the meaning of this song. -Mama Lisa


You can find a version from Peru called Al citrón de un fandango.

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Monique Palomares for contributing and translating this song.

Thanks to Rhianna Barr for the alternate version of this song. Thanks to Ariel and Monique for their comments.

¡Muchas gracias!