Toca el instrument

Al tambor de la Alegría

Así le hace Juan


El juego de Juan Pirulero

En la feria de San Juan


José se llama el padre

Una, do, li, tra


Last updated: 11/26/2015 4:26 PM


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

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

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To listen to music from these songs click on O

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


© 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.



Al tambor de la Alegría  O


This song was originally written in 1918 as a commercial jingle. It became a national dance of Panama, see more at: .

Move to the music of Francisco Herrera and watch some absolutely wonderful graphics on your whiteboard at:

Learn the name of fellow students or their Spanish equivalents with this simple popular version similar to one by José-Luis Orozco.


Children stand in two circles each child faces a partner. Choose one to sit with a drum in the centre and beat it to the rhythm of the music.

















Al tambor, al tambor,

Al tambor de la Alegria,

Yo quiero que tu me lleves,

Al tambor de la Alegría.


To the drum, to the drum,

To the drum of joy a-swaying.

Come with us and join the dancing,

As the drum of joy keeps playing.


Sofía, oh, Sofia, Sofia, amiga mia.

Yo quiero que tu me lleves,

Al tambor de la Alegría.

Sofía, oh, Sofia, my good friend let’s make music.

Come with us and join the dancing,

As the drum of joy keeps playing.


Mateo, oh, Mateo, Mateo, amigo mío...

Matthew-o, oh, Matthew-o, Matthew, my friend come with me...


Make side steps clockwise round the circle and clap to the rhythm.


Take partners hands and skip round on the spot.


Second time move anticlockwise then skip with partner.


The circle stands still and claps during this verse. The child in the centre chooses a named child to play the drum and make up a rhythm of their own between verses.

The first child takes the partner of the one now in the centre so the game can continue.




Así le hace Juan O



Imitate different instruments. This is an adaptation of a song found in ‘Juegos del folklore chileno para preescolares’ compiled by Veronica Herrera Velez.


Listen at:


Make this game more active by adding movements when the song is sung: ‘Like this he will jump / When our John jumps in the circle today.’




Make a circle with ‘Juan’ in the middle. He decides which instrument to play and tells those in the ring. In the second half of the song he ‘plays’ making a suitable noise. When the song finishes those in the circle imitate his playing as the music continues. ‘Juan’ then chooses a new child to sit in the centre and the game continues with a new name sung and instrument played.













Si quieren saber, si quieren saber,

Cómo Juan toca la corneta.

Así le hace Juan, así le hace Juan, Cuando Juan toca la corneta.

Would you like to know, would you like to know,

How our John plays on the trumpet today?

Like this he will play, like this he will play,

When our John plays on the trumpet today.




















Bartolo O


Bartolo is an old game sung and played throughout the Hispanic world.

Play different orchestral instruments each time.


Listen at:




Make a circle without holding hands.

One child stands outside some distance away so a leader can be secretly chosen and then moves into the circle. Everyone imitates the movements made by the leader without giving away who it might be. The child has three guesses and if correct joins the circle.

The leader then becomes the new child outside and the game begins again.












Bartolo tenía una flauta,

Con un agujero solo,

Y su madre le decía;

Toca la flauta Bartolo.

Young Bartolo had a fine flute,

But it only had one hole, oh!

And his dear old mother said to him;

Please play your flute Bartolo.




















El juego de Juan Pirulero O


A traditional game from Mexico.


Watch at:


Choose one or two children to be Juan Pirulero who chooses an instrument for each child to play between verses. Alternatively Juan Pirulero could ask the children to mimic occupations or tasks.




Children skip round in pairs with arms linked and outside hands held high, first one way then the other. As the music is played a second time they skip alone around the room pretending to play an instrument and making its sound. ‘Juan Pirulero’ conducts. They then find a new partner and the game continues.












Este es el juego de Juan Pirulero.

Que cada quien atienda su juego.

This is the game we call Juan Pirulero.

Join in the fun and play everywhere-o.

























En la feria de San Juan O


Another cumulative song .

Instead of playing instruments introduce vigorous movements: marchando saltando... bailando...gateando etc. for a more active game.


Find a similar song ‘En la pulga de San Jose’ ‘In the flea market of San Jose’ at:




Make several circles; allocate each group an instrument to play.

In the first part of the verse each group ‘plays’ their instrument as it is mentioned.

In the second half hold hands and skip round first one way then the other.















En la feria de San Juan,

Yo compré un pitido,

Piri, piri, piri, el pitido.

Venga usted, venga usted,

A la feria de San Juan,

Venga usted, venga usted,

A la feria de San Juan.


En la feria de San Juan,

Yo compré un tambor,

Bom, bom, bom, el tambor,

Piri, piri, piri, el pitido.

Venga usted, venga usted....


Then add the instruments below cumulatively:

…Tara, tara, tara, la guitarra…

…Lín, lín, lín, el violin…

...Chaca, chaca, chaca las maracas...

At the festival of Saint John,

There I bought a whistle fine,

Piri, piri, piri, went the whistle.

Come with us, come with us,

To the festival of Saint John,

Come with us, come with us,

To the festival of Saint John.


At the festival of Saint John,

There I bought a tambourine,

Bom, bom, bom, went the tambourine,

Piri piri piri, went the whistle.

Come with us, come with us....




…Tara, tara, tara, went the guitar…

Zim, zim, zim went the violin…

...Chaca, chaca, chaca went the maracas...





Gatatumba O



Gatatumba’ is traditionally played at Christmas time; the shepherds dance and play instruments in reverence for the baby Jesus. It is also a dance performed in Andalusia and Cuba.

The word ‘Gatatumba’ is probably onomatopoeic although in the Spanish speaking world children can be seen dressed up in cat costumes as they sing and mime this song and many cats are indeed named ‘Gatatumba’.


Listen at:




Walk in a circle with joined hands swaying back and forth.

For the second verse hold hands high and sway from side to side.

Each time this song is sung move and sing at a greater speed.

Inside the circle a group of children play percussion instruments adding new ones each time they are mentioned.





























Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

Con panderos y sonajas,

Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

No te metas en las pajas.


Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

Toca el pito y el rabel,

Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

Tamboril y cascabel!

Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

Tambourines and bells are jingling,

Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

Time for music, time for singing.


Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

Play the horn and violin,

Gatatumba, tumba, tumba,

As the pipes and drums join in!
































José se llama el padre O


A good excuse to ask each other’s names in Spanish:¿Cómo te llamas ?’

Sing this circular song without pausing until everyone has had enough!’ También’ means ‘also’ not ‘tambourine’, more artistic license!


Listen to Rosa Leon at:




Hold hands and skip sideways round in a circle. Each time the song is sung change direction. Choose a ‘Joseph’ to play a tambourine in time to the music.












José se llama el padre,

Josefa la muyer,

Y un hijo que tenían,

También se llama José.

¡Jo- séee!

The father his name was Joseph,

The mother Josephine,

And their son was also Joseph,

Hear him play on the tambourine.


































Una, do, li, tra O


A rhyme from Puerto Rico.




Form a circle. Each participant is assigned a musical instrument to mime playing.

Everyone sings the first phrase as the leader walks round the inside of the circle stopping in front of a child who then echoes the rhythm of the phrase making the sound of their instrument.

The leader continues round stopping each time a line is sung.

If the circle is a large one have two or three leaders so all children have a turn before they tire of the game.












Una, do, li, tra, elelé, mengua,

Un sofete, carolete, una, do, li, tra.


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