A las estatuas de marfil

Ahora vamos a cantar

Chequi morena

El chipi, chipi

La mariposa

La tarantulita

Se baila el minué

Taco y punta


Last updated: 2/17/2015 3:10 PM


The songs below are part of ‘‘La pajara pinta’ The Spanish collection

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear


To listen to music from these songs click on O

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:

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© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

·       you must give the original author credit

·       you may not use this work for commercial purposes

·       for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work

·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder


Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.

The Spanish Collection


It is said that children who are exposed to just 50 words of a second language before to age six begin to develop an "ear" for the sounds of that language.


It is hoped that where possible these songs will be sung in their home language. An English version is provided so children can enjoy the tunes before they have mastered Spanish. Literal translations do not always make sense to the English ear so these have been translated freely (very freely in some cases!) to complement the music and capture the spirit of each song.

You will find more Spanish songs in the collection ‘Away We Go’.


Spanish pronunciation


Spoken Spanish in both Spain and Latin America is quite distinctive from spoken English. For that reason a few lyrics are accompanied by the sounds of the Spanish language. The more distinctive sounds of letters in the words of the songs are provided to aid pronunciation in the guide below. The letters not listed are pronounced approximately as in English.


a        sounds like ah (father)                                          as in madre

i         sounds like ee (feet)                                              as in mi

e        sounds like e (met) at the beginning or within a word     as in leche

e        sounds like ay at the end of a word                       as in leche

o        sounds like oa (boat)                                            as in no

u       sounds like oo (boot)                                            as in una

c        sounds like th before the letters i and e                  as in cinco

cc      sounds like ks (accident)                             as in accidente

j and g sounds like ch (loch)                                          as in juego and girafa

g        sounds like h (hallo) before the letters i and e        as in gente

ll        sounds like y (yard)                                              as in llamas

ñ       sounds like ni (onions)                                         as in señorita

qu     sounds like k                                                        as in ¿qué?

rr      sounds like a Scottish r                                         as in arroz

v        sounds like b                                                        as in vaca

z        sounds like th (thin)                                             as in arroz

h       is always silent unless the word is of foreign origin

u       is silent after g and q                                             as in ¿qué?


In Spain ‘d’ is spoken with a lisp, this is not so in Latin America.

There are many sites on line that provide help with pronunciation


Spanish punctuation


Written Spanish in both Spain and Latin America is also distinctive from written English; fewer capitals are used at the beginning of each line of verse, exclamation and question marks are used both at the beginning and end of sentences. However, for familiarity I have usually conformed to the English model when writing Spanish verse.



A las estatuas de marfil O


‘Ivory statues’ is a traditional Mexican party game.


Watch at: 




Children, holding hands, skip in a circle around a child in the centre. On the last line everyone freezes in a funny position. The one in the middle tries to make a child move or laugh. If successful that player then performs a forfeit e.g. dance the twist. This child then goes into the centre and chooses a new penalty.











A las estatuas de marfil,

Una, dos y tres asi,

El que se mueva baila el twist!

Here’s to the ivory statuettes,

One, and two, and three like this,

But if you move you must dance the twist!










































Ahora vamos a cantar O


Learn some Spanish action words in this simple song by Jose Luis Orozco. Listen to his singing at:




In pairs or singly move around the room miming the actions. On the last verse curl up on the floor to sleep.











Ahora vamos a cantar, a cantar, a cantar.

Ahora vamos a cantar, a cantar, a cantar.


Ahora vamos a bailar, a bailar, a bailar.

Ahora vamos a bailar, a bailar, a bailar.


Ahora vamos a marchar, a marchar, a marchar. x2


Ahora vamos a saltar, a saltar, a saltar.x2


Ahora vamos a aplaudir, a aplaudir, a aplaudir. x2


Ahora vamos a dormir, a dormir, a dormir. x2

Now it’s time for us to sing, us to sing, us to sing. x2


Now it’s time for us to dance...



Now it’s time for us to march...



Now it’s time for us to jump...


Now it’s time for us to clap...



Now it’s time for us to sleep...



















Chequi morena O


Puerto Ricans of all ages love dancing and ‘Shake it morena’ is a great favourite in Puerto Rico. ‘Chequi’ probably arises from the lack of a ‘sh’ sound in Spanish as in ‘shake it’. ‘Merecumbé is a dance with its roots in Africa, while ‘morena’ is a dark skinned woman.


Watch at:




Stand in a circle with one child in the middle. Everyone follows the words; with hands on hips shake to the rhythm, one step forward and one back then turn around and around. The one in the middle covers the eyes with one hand and points with the finger of the other to those in the circle as they move round. When the music stops the one pointed at becomes the new child in the middle.














Chequi morena, chequi, chequi morena, hué,

Qué adónde está ese ritmo, caramba,

del merecumbé? Eh!

Un pasito a’lante, y otro para atrás,

Y dando la vuelta, y dando la vuelta,

Qién se quedará?


Shake it, morena, shake it, shake it, morena, way!

Let’s feel the rhythm, move it, caramba, of the mer’cumbé. Hey!

First take one step forward, then take one step back,

And off we go round now, round and around now,

Who next shall we catch?























El chipi, chipi O


Learn to dance the ‘chipi chipi’ moving hips rhythmically with one arm up at right angles and the other down. Make a circle with one participant inside.


Watch at: and




Those in the circle clap rhythmically as the child in the centre moves round the inside of the ring. On ‘baila el chipi chipi’ this child stops to face a partner and both dance the ‘chipi chipi’ as above. Throw arms up and jump on ‘Hey!’Then both, arm in arm, dance around the inside of the circle. Continue with those in the centre choosing a child from the outer circle until all are inside.













Ayer fui al pueblo, a ver a mi amigo.

Mi amigo me enseñó,

A bailar el chipi, chipi.

Baila el chipi, chipi,

Baila el chipi, chipi,

Baila el chipi, chipi, pero báilalo bien. ¡Hey!

Yesterday I went to visit, my good friend down in town.

And there my good friend taught me,

To dance the chipi, chipi.

Dance the chipi, chipi,

Dance the chipi, chipi,

Dance the chipi, chipi, and  I danced it very well. Hey!
































































































La mariposa O


A well known favourite from Bolivia where it is played in bands with pan pipes, guitars, maracas and drums.


Watch the Municipal  band Los Chaskas at:

Watch a family group at:




Children stand in a circle holding hands.

Verse 1 First skip one way and then the other as the verse is repeated.

Verse 2: Drop hands to clap and stamp.

Take a partner and skip round on the spot holding hands.
















Vengan a cantar la morenada que empieza a sonar.

Como el vuelo de una mariposa

vamos todos a bailar.



Con las manos, (clap, clap, clap)

Con los pies, (stamp, stamp, stamp)

La morenada.

La morenada

Come along and sing the lady’s ready, now it is your chance.

Butterfly’s begun her merry flight so

join her lightly in the dance.


With our hands we, (clap, clap, clap)

With our feet we, (stamp, stamp, stamp)

Dark-haired lady dance,

Dark-haired lady dance.


























La tarantulita O


Have fun dancing like a giant spider. Similar tune and rhythm to the previous song but a different game and words, so take your pick. This one is a favourite in the Spanish speaking scout movement.


Watch at:




Make a circle with spider in the centre.

All clap rhythmically as the tarantula dances spider like, lifting knees alternately and lightly tapping with the palm of the hand, round the inside of the circle. The spider stops to face a child on parejita’. and lightly touches the child’s ears and nose, then takes their hand and twirls them underarm. The new child falls in behind the first one to dance like a spider. The game continues with those in the centre choosing a child from the circle until none are left in the outer ring.














Esta es la danza, de la tarantulita,

Que anda buscando a su parejita.

Pícale las orejas,

Pícale la nariz,

Tómala del brazo,

Y sales a bailar.


Off we go a-dancing, shake it tarantulita,

Walk round and pick a partner, get them moving sweeter.

Tickle’em round the earlobes,

Tickle’em on the nose,

Hold out a hand and twirl’em,

That’s how the dancing goes.
























Se baila el minué O


Can you play this crazy game with a straight face? It’s not impossible!


Watch at:




Stand in a large circle well spaced out one behind the other. After each singing step in towards the centre to make the circle a little smaller. Walk round with hands by the side. Second time place right hand on the shoulder of the one in front. Thereafter place both hands on shoulders each time getting closer and closer. Last time bend knees so children are bunched up and sitting on the knees of those behind, attempt to circle in this stooped position!












En un salón francés,

Se baila el minué,

En un salón francés,

Se baila el minué.

T’was in a French ballroom,

They danced the minuet,

T’was in a French ballroom,

They danced the minuet.






Taco y punta O


This game can more simply be played in pairs.


Watch at: 

See Mazapán play at: .




Make a circle.

1. Tap right toe in front then heel, clap three times. Repeat for second line.

2. Hold hands and walk to the right. Drop hands and turn round on the spot.

3. Repeat but walk to the left. After turning on the spot jump up with a big ‘Hey!’ Repeat playing faster each time.



















1.Taco y punta, aplaudamos,

Taco y punta, un, dos, tres.


2. Dame la mano y bailaremos,

Una vuelta entera te darás.


3. Dame la mano y bailaremos,

Otra vuelta para terminar. ¡Hey!

Tap toe and heel then clap together,

Tap toe and heel then one, two, three.


Give me your hand and dance round the circle,

Turn around just once all by yourself.


Give me your hand and dance round the circle,

Make another turn to finish well. Hey!









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