La Bamba (song)

La Bamba is the title of a Mexican public domain folk song, which was successfully taken up for the first time in pop music by Ritchie Valens in 1958 and has since been present in numerous cover versions.


On the night of 17 on May 18, 1683 Dutch pirate Laurens sought ( Lorenz ) de Graaf, the Mexican city of Veracruz home, gathered the villagers in the church and plundered and set fire to the place. This incident was reported by the surviving Spanish Administration on June 18, 1683 to Madrid. Later, the inhabitants built the city, and were preparing for possible further raids before. The word " bamba " comes from the Spanish term " bambaria " which can be translated as an attempt to prevent something in the future, what may have happened. " Arriba, arriba " means " faster, faster " and is urging the city government to speed up preparations against future attacks, but can also be interpreted as a request for acceleration of the dance.

Some researchers believe that the song even has African roots, because many Mexican slaves came from Angola / Cameroon, where the root of the Mbamba at Bamba River live. In this context " bambarria " is interpreted as a revolt of slaves against the Spaniards. They danced proven since 1816 after the song.

The Spanish lyric explains that for the La Bamba dance a little grace ( "una poca de gracia " ) is necessary for both dancers, and the narrator makes it clear that he is not a mere sailor, but captain ( " Yo no soy marinero, soy capitán "). The dance style " bambolear " can be translated as " swing back and forth ." From bambolear also the word Bambolero / Bambolera derived. Colloquially, a Bambolero a person who likes to brag. Both allow conclusions about the narrator. In Mexican is the song a " son", one to be found in 7 regions musical form in 4/6 clock. La Bamba has a "son jarocho " ( " jarocho " indicates an origin from the south of Veracruz ) exceptionally 4/4-time. Musically, the song is based on a very simple harmonic ostinato ( a short chord progression that is repeated continuously ): tonic, subdominant, dominant, eg |: D, G, A: |. In the old version, there are three verses plus a chorus three times.

As a folk song emerged, it turned to Vera Cruz in a wedding song to. Originally written in the Mexican Son Jarocho music style, is traditionally played with one or two Arpas jarochas ( harp ), fiddle, Jarana and guitar accompaniment.

Music recordings

The oldest well-known disk recording comes from Andres Huesca Y Su Trio Huracan under the title El Jarabe Veracruzano ( The wedding in Vera Cruz ) from the 1908 El Jarocho. ( Alvaro Hernández Ortiz; vocals and guitar) took him around 1929 on (Mexican Victor 76102 ); the catalog chronology sets but rather close in 1939. ( 1945 RCA 7249 ) After a recording of the Los Tres Vaqueros is handed down.

On March 6, 1956 La Bamba was the first time in a U.S. recording studio with Harry Belafonte under the title Bam Bam Bamba for the LP Very Best of Harry Belafonte. As officers here is the folk guitarist William Clauson called, who in 1953 provided the template for the Belafonte version. Clauson traveled extensively through Mexico and will have come into contact there with the original version.

Ritchie Valens La Bamba had heard on a Clauson - concert and took the song on September 23, 1958 in the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, produced by Bob Keane. As an accompaniment had Ernie Freeman ( piano ), Rene Hall with ( Danelektrobass ), Buddy Clark ( bass), Carol Kaye (rhythm guitar) and Earl Palmer (drums). With Carol Kaye and Earl Palmer met here two later members of the famous session musician Wrecking Crew together. Valens plays the intro guitar riff and the guitar solo in the instrumental part. The singer provided with Mexican roots did not want to know first arranged the traditional song with rock & roll elements, but consented, and sang it in bad Spanish. As an arranger here is called Clauson. La Bamba was released as a B-side of the ballad Donna on October 18, 1958 ( Del -Fi 4110 ). During the ballad reached rank 2 of the U.S. singles chart, the B-side was at least still on place 22


The Rhythm & Blues song Twist and Shout has adapted passages from La Bamba. It was composed in 1960 by Bert Berns ( under the pseudonym Bert Russell) and Phil Medley ( from duo The Righteous Brothers). Berns and Medley had two sounds together, namely elements of Shout ( an original composition of the Isley Brothers in August 1959) and Twist - passages, both connected by a La Bamba adaptation. From Twist and Shout produced two million-seller, namely, by the Isley Brothers ( published in June 1962) and the Beatles ( March 1964 ).

Other cover versions and Statistics

More than 150 versions exist throughout the world. The tokens reached with La Bamba an average chart position (June 1962), a typical Mexican folklore interpretation came in 1963 by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán the group out. Trini Lopez considered him on his live album At PJ's (published on 5 June 1963; Rank 2 on the LP charts ). This was followed by Neil Diamond ( LP Feel of Neil Diamond, September 1966 ), the Sandpipers (June 1967 ) or James Last (LP This is James Last, April 1967, GB -6). Under the movie title La Bamba also the true biography of Ritchie Valens was filmed; the U.S. premiere of La Bamba took place on 24 July 1987. Los Lobos presented herein a cover version that was in the U.S. after its publication in June 1987 to the first number-one hit version of La Bamba. Also in 27 other countries, it reached the top position in the respective charts and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. La Bamba is one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century, the National Public Radio and received a BMI Award.

Old version with three stanzas

One of the old, now known in Mexico and currently still sung folk song - text versions are:

Para bailar la bamba, para bailar la bamba se necesita una poca de gracia, una poca de gracia y otra cosita. Ay arriba, arriba, arriba, arriba, arriba iré. Yo no soy marinero, yo no soy marinero, por ti Seré, por ti Seré, por ti Seré. ( (Chorus ) ) Bailar ba bamba, bamba ba ba, ba ba bamba, bamba la. ) ) En mi casa me dicen, en mi casa me dicen: " El inocente " porque tengo chamacas, porque tengo chamacas de quince al veinte. Ay arriba, arriba, - arriba, arriba, arriba iré. ( (Chorus ) ) Para llegar al cielo, para llegar al cielo se necesita una poca de gracia, una poca de gracia y otra cosita. Ay arriba, arriba, arriba Ay, arriba, arriba iré. Yo no soy Marinero, soy capitan, soy capitan, soy capitan, por ti sere, por ti sere. ( (Chorus ) )