Anem a cantar i ballar

A la vora de la mar

Ball de cercavila de Salàs

Ball dels mocadors

La bolangera

Picarel la

Sant Antoni i el dimoni

Tots els ocells que canten

Last edited: 01/02/2016 13:55


The songs below are part of ‘Joan del Rui’ The Catalan 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:


Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page


Why a separate Catalan collection?


My intention in researching Catalan songs was to add just a small number to my original Spanish collection. However it was obvious from the outset that this region of Spain is a particularly rich source of wonderful music and rhythms and before long I had assembled and translated a dedicated compilation of singing games and dances.


Many of these had been accessed on the internet in the form of videos. The dances themselves should be self evident from the directions given but I would urge anyone who would like to introduce these songs in the Catalan language to classes of children to illustrate the dances using these videos as a model to copy on their whiteboards.


© 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 Catalan Collection


Catalan pronunciation


Spoken Catalan like Spanish is quite distinctive from spoken English. 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        stressed sounds like ah (father)                           as in pa

a        unstressed sounds like a (sugar)                          as in porta

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

e        closed sounds like e (they) at the beginning or within a word as in llet

i         sounds like ee (feet)                                              as in nit

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

o        sounds like oa (boat)                                           as in boca

u       sounds like oo (boot)                                           as in una

b       is silent after m                                                    as in amb

c        sounds like c (acid) before the letters i and e        as in cel

ç        sounds like c (acid)                                               as in canço

g (before e and i) and j sounds like sh (vision)              as in gina jeure

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

h       is always silent unless the word is of foreign origin

ll        sounds like lli (million)                                         as in llapis

p       is silent after m                                                    as in llamp

v        at the beginning of a word sounds like b              as in vi

rr      sounds like a Scottish r                                        as in carro

v        sounds like b                                                        as in vaca

s and z  sounds like z (zoo)                                            as in casa zero

u       is silent after g and q                                            as in gue qui

x        at the beginning of a word or after l, n, r sounds like sh as in xarop


There are many sites on line that provide help with pronunciations


Catalan punctuation


Written Catalan like Spanish is 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 Catalan verse.



A la vora de la mar O


An ‘Oranges and lemons’ type of game.


Watch at:




Two facing children form a bridge holding hands high. These players secretly choose who will be sea and who will be land. The other children line up one behind the other and sing as they move under the bridge. On the last word the arms drop to capture the one passing through, this child chooses either land or sea without the rest of those in the line hearing. They then go to that side of the bridge holding on to the waist of the chosen child.

The game continues until all children have made a choice and stand behind the two making the bridge. This pair shout ‘Ready!’ and both teams pull in opposite directions aiming to drag the others team to their own side..














A la vora, a la vora de la mar,

Les barques veurás passar.

Quan les barques passaran,

Una barca deixaran.


La barca, quina será ?

La del davant o del darrere?

La del davant passa Volant,

La del darrere es quedará.

In the sea, in the sea not far from shore,

Little boats pass by the score.

When the boats are passing by,

One will leave without a sigh.


And which boat will that be?

Will it be front or back caught neatly? 

Those at the front are flying fast,

Boat at the back you shall not pass.































Ball de cercavila de Salàs O


The citizens of Salàs de Pallars move around the town to this stately slow music for the festival of Saint Cyprien in September. As part of the festivities young fellows in two long rows, wearing bells on their legs are pursued and beaten by leaders wielding two large birch brooms. In other areas it is adapted as a dance of the dwarves and is known as "La Tereseta".


Watch at: 


In pairs stand in a circle side by side, facing anticlockwise. Hold hands at shoulder height.

Identify which pairs will make groups of four.
















Quant veneu els ous, Tereseta, Tereseta?

Quant veneu els ous, Tereseta?

A set sous.


How much are your eggs, Tereseta, Tereseta?

How much are your eggs?

It will cost you seven pence.



Perquè són petits, Tereseta, Tereseta,

Perquè són petits, Tereseta;

A tres i mig!


As they are so small, Tereseta, Tereseta,

As they are so small,

I’ll pay three pence and a half.

Progress steadily round the circle tapping pointed toe in front then stepping forward, first with the right foot then the left.





Face partner, hold right hands and skip clockwise round in a small circle.

Repeat with left hands.


Next time the second verse is repeated pairs join up in groups of four to skip round, with first right hands in the centre then left.





Ball dels mocadors O


Make a collection of colourful scarves for this game. The dance below is a simple one where the aim is to learn to perfect the stately toe and step walk round the circle.


Watch at:




Make two circles; an inner facing anticlockwise, an outer facing inwards.

1st part: The inner ring holds a scarf out to the right side waving it back and forth as they move steadily round the circle with the following step sequence: tap with right pointed toe and step forward, repeat with the left foot. Meanwhile the outer circle stands in place with hands on hips moving up and down on their toes in time to the music.

2nd part: Each child in the outer circle picks up the end of a scarf and proceeds to move in pairs with the same steady step as made by the inner circle.

Still holding the scarf the pairs the move round to swap places so the outer circle becomes the inner one and the inner the outer. The dance then begins again.



















Soletes n’haveu quedades,

Soletes n’heu de ballar.


Si no us busqueu ballador,

Jo me’n deixo, jo me’n deixo,

Si no us busqueu ballador,

Jo me’n deixo de cantar.



Tots solets n’haveu quedat,

Tots solets n’heu de ballar.


Si no us busqueu balladora,

Jo me’n deixo, jo me’n deixo,

Si no us busqueu balladora,

Jo me’n deixo de cantar.


On your own walk round the circle,

On your own join in the dance.


If a partner you would like,

Go and find one, go and find one,

If a partner you would like,

Find one when this song has stopped.



All is bright and all is cheerful,

For a partner has been found. 


If you wish to dance alone,

You may do so, you may do so,

If you wish to dance alone,

Just wait’ til this song has stopped.





La bolangera O


‘La bolangera’ is a popular Catalan female character, a hard working woman who makes money without much effort and who has inspired the text of this traditional dance. The title hints at French origins since its name is similar to ‘boulangère’ (baker’s wife).

Since the song is more than 300 years old there may be links with the Moorish tradition as their influence pervaded the culture of the time.


Watch at: 




Make a circle holding hands.

Skip round anticlockwise in a circle holding hand for the first part.

On the third line place right toe in circle then left, repeat. On last phrase bend knees to squat together, still holding hands, then rise up ready to start again.
















La bolangera un colom,


Que amb la cua escombra el forn.

I amb les ales la pastera,

Vet’ho aquí la bolangera!



La bolangera un tuí,


Que sense aigua el fa bullir.

Quan el tupí fa cloc-cloc-cloc,

La bolangera el treu del foc!



La bolangera un gran llit,

Amb cent coixins, l’ha fet amb

un dit.

Sap escriure sense riure,

Sap contar fins una lliura,

Sap fer coves i paneres,

I no quantes coses més!




Busy Dame Daisy had a pigeon,


With its tail the oven she swept.

And with its wings she mixed the pastry,

Would you believe it, dear Dame Daisy!



Busy Dame Daisy had a kettle,


With no water it just wouldn’t boil.

And when the kettle it went cloc-cloc,

Up from the fire she plucked the hot pot!



Busy Dame Daisy had a bed so large,

A hundred pillows plumped she.

Knew how to write well without laughing,

Knew how to give change for one pound,

Knew how to make all kinds of baskets,

She was so very enterprising!



Picarel·la O


What are the birds up to in the schoolyard? Get ready to dance with them. A ‘pique-soques’ is the name for a woodpecker.


During the refrain use claves to make the sounds of the woodpecker and the wine maker hammering in corks.


Watch at:




Hold hands in a circle and walk to the right.

On ‘ohé’ place hands on hips and bow to the right then left.

Continue walking right.

On ‘Pica-soques’ skip round on the spot knocking fists together.


















Al pati de l’escola,

Hi havia un ocellet, Ohé, ohé!

Es deia Pica-soques,

I feia el seu niuet, Ohé, ohé!

Pica-soques, Pica-soques, Pica-soques, pica bé.  x2


Al poble del meu pare,

Hi havia un vinater, Ohé, ohé!

Es deia Picarel·la,

I no tenia muller, Ohé, ohé!

Picarel·la, Picarel·la,

Picarel·la, pica bé. x2

Just out there in the school yard,

There was a little bird, Oh ay, oh ay!

They called him Picasoca,

And there he made his nest, Oh ay, oh ay!

Picasoca, Picasoca,,

Picasoca, he taps well! x2


In the village of my father,

There was a wine maker, Oh ay, oh ay!

They called him Picarel la,

He didn’t have a wife, Oh ay, oh ay!

Picarel·la, Picarel·la,

Picarel·la, he taps well! x2





Sant Antoni i el dimoni O


Catalonian children invent humorous verses for this song for the festivities of Sant Antoni, held around January 17th.

Listen to the Miqui Giménez adaptation at: and more Catalan songs on his CD ‘Canta-me'n una, canta-me'n dues’. Hear him play the ximbomba, a percussion hand drum, at .


Watch at:



Directions: Make a circle holding hands.

First four lines: Walk round anticlockwise in a circle holding hands.

Fifth line: Clap hands to each side and turn round on the spot.

Last two lines: Holding hands walk into the centre and then back out again.















Sant Antoni i el dimoni ,

Jugaven a trenta-u.

El dimoni en va fer trenta,

I Sant Antoni trenta-u.

O-e, o-u, Sant Antoni trenta-u.

Tiroliroli-u, tirolirola.

El bon Sant Antoni, para xim papa.


Sant Antoni ha vengut,

Amb un ase amb quatre cames,

Amb un covo d’ensaïmades,

I una botella de suc

O-e, o-u...


Un fogueró tothom fa,

Mengen sobrassada i pa,

Sa ximbomba fan sonar,

I ningú dorm i tothom vetla.

O-e, o-u...


Saint Antoni and the devil,

Played the game of thirty-one.

Little devil he scored thirty,

Saint Antoni thirty-one.

Oh me, oh my, Saint Antoni thirty-one.

Tiroliroli-oo, tirolirola.

Good old Saint Antoni, para chim papa.


Saint Antoni sold at market,

One old donkey with four legs,

Sold a basket full of pastries,

Fruit juice and ten dozen eggs.

Oh me, oh my...




Everyone come to the bonfire,

We’ll eat sausages and bread,

Hear the sound of the Zimbomba,

There’s no need for sleepyheads.

Oh me, oh my...



Tots els ocells que canten O


Listen very carefully but you will soon learn every child’s voice is different and it is not always easy to distinguish one voice from another.


Watch at:





Make one large circle, holding hands. Hunter stands blindfolded in the centre.

1st verse: Walk round the hunter singing.

The hunter then approaches a child and asks ‘Ocellet, com cantes? / Little bird how do you sing?’ The child sings ’Piu, piu, piu...! / Cheep, cheep, cheep...!’ in time to the music. The hunter tries to guess who it might be by listening and feeling the child’s face. If successful both swap places. If not those in the ring walk round singing the second verse. Once the hunter has guessed a name the game continues with a new child in the centre.










Tots els ocells que canten sense por,

S’amaguen quan arriba el caçador.


Ai, caçador que bades, no era ell,

escolta com canta cada ocell.

Just listen to the birds sing without fear,

Soon all the birds will hide for hunter’s near.


Oh, hunter very sadly you are wrong,

So next time pay attention to our song.










































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