Does Anyone Know the Earliest Date that Bate Bate Chocolate was Published?

David Kramer posted the following question on Mama Lisa’s World’s Facebook Wall asking about the Mexican song "Bate bate chocolate".  Here’s what he wrote:

"El Chocolate – does anyone know definitively whether Jose Luis Orozco has the rights to this song? (Uno dos tres, cho, uno dos tres, cho … Bate Bate Chocolate.) I thought for sure it was in the public domain because it is a traditional song from Mexico but am now up against conflicting evidence and ambiguous legal definitions… Any copies of the song and lyrics written down in Mexico in the 1800’s, or ideas how to get my hands on ’em, would be worth gold :) Any legal scholars out there?? Gracias!"

Here are the Spanish lyrics to the song:

Bate bate chocolate,
tu nariz de cacahuate
Uno, dos, tres, CHO!,
uno, dos, tres, CO!
Uno, dos, tres, LA!,
uno, dos, tres, TE!
Bate bate chocolate,
bate bate bate
bate bate chocolate!

An English Translation:

Stir, stir the chocolate,
Your nose is a peanut
One, two, three, "Cho"
One, two, three, "co"
One, two, three, "la"
One, two, three, "te"!
Stir, stir the chocolate
Stir, stir, stir,
Stir, stir the chocolate!

You can hear it here:

It’s also my understanding that this song is in the public domain.  The Texas State Library and Archive Commission calls it a traditional song.  If anyone knows more, please share your info in the comments below.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

UPDATE: We found a slightly different version of Bate bate chocolate connected to a Mexican meal.

This article was posted on Sunday, September 11th, 2011 at 10:51 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Mexican Children's Songs, Mexico, Questions, Spain, Spanish, Spanish Kids Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Does Anyone Know the Earliest Date that Bate Bate Chocolate was Published?”

  1. Dave Kramer Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Looking forward to comments. Can anyone hold a market on music that is for everyone? Any wiggle room from strict legality to what’s actually morally right and culturally respectful?

  2. Lisa Says:

    I think he may have copyrighted “his” version – which would include some lines he wrote.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Monique wrote:

    Maybe a solution is to contact José Luís Orozco himself to ask.

    He was born in 1948, so if Mexican people born in the 50’s/early 60’s knew it, they didn’t learn it from him!

    FYI – I doubt that kids’ stuff was written down in the 1800’s…

  4. Lisa Says:

    There are plenty of French and English kids song written down in the 1800’s. I’m not sure about Mexican songs though.

  5. Betsy Says:

    I learned Bate Bate in third grade, which was in 1962. So it’s pretty clear that the song is not his!

  6. LUIS OROZCO Says:

    happy Birthday to you is a song derived from public domain lyrics but is registered to the owner who adopted the lyrics.

    In 1971, Jose Luis Orozco adapted lyrics and created an original musical composition to a public domain rhyme. Jose Luis makes no claims to work in the public domain. He only makes claims to his work registered with the copyright office El Chocolate (c) 1971 Adapted Lyrics and Muisc by Jose Luis Orozco.

  7. Lisa Says:

    Dear Sr. Orozco,

    Thanks for writing! We enjoy listening to your version of this song.

    We believe the version in the video below is the traditional one in Mexico…

    Would you agree?

    Thanks for your help!


    Mama Lisa

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