Lyr/Origins: De Colores To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=23693
38 messages

Lyr/Origins: De Colores

25 Jul 00 - 10:44 PM (#264732)
Subject: De Colores
From: GUEST,dawg413

I'm looking for the english words to a song I believe is "De Colores" a spanish folk song. It's used at Cursillo weekends - a Catholic spiritual retreat

Click for Digital Tradition Lyrics (Spanish)


25 Jul 00 - 11:03 PM (#264746)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Sorcha

Also used at Episcopalian/Anglican retreats. I bet Praise knows it. If she doesn't respond to the thread, I can get it in a couple of days. I will watch the thread.


25 Jul 00 - 11:19 PM (#264751)
Subject: RE: De Colores ^^
From: dwditty

De Colores

De Colores, De Colores the fields love to dress in all during the springtime,
De Colores, De Colores the birds have their clothing that comes every season.
De Colores, De Colores the rainbow is vested across the blue sky.
De Colores and so must all love be of every bright color to make my heart cry. (repeat)

De Colores, De Colores we witness the sun-up on clear and bright mornings,
De Colores, De Colores the sun gives its treasures, God's light to His children;
De Colores, De Colores the diamond will sparkle when brought to the light,
De Colores, and so must all love be of every bright color to make my heart cry. (repeat)

Joyfully, joyfully we will live in God's friendship because He has willed it.
Faithfully, faithfully we will slake the great thirsting of Christ, the Immortal.
Joyfully, joyfully we will bring to our Savior a harvest of souls;
Pouring outward the light from within the grace of our God His infinite life. (repeat)

Missionaries, missionaries of Christ with His courage determined to conquer,
Pescadores, Pescadores who don't pay attention to human opinion;
Let the cowards let the cowards deride us and taunt us but it is the truth--
That they really desire the pleasure of being in grace in colors with us.(repeat)

Canta el gallo, canta el gallo con el quiri, quiri, quiri, quiri, quiri,
La gallina, la gallina con el cara, cara, cara, cara, cara,
Los puellos, los puellos con el pio, pio, pio, pio, pi,
Y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores me gustan a mi.(repeat)^^


25 Jul 00 - 11:31 PM (#264759)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: GUEST,late 'n short

At the Cursillos I've been part of the last verse is translated: "Sings the rooster, sings the rooster with his kiri kiri kiri/Sing the cluck hens, sing the cluck hens with their kara kara kara/ And the babe chicks, and the babe chicks with thier pio pio pi/ De Colores and so must all love be of every bright color to make my heart cry (Repeat)

You really have to be there to appreciate it.

Dan


25 Jul 00 - 11:47 PM (#264766)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Sorcha

Waiting on Escalmillo to check in here, but it seems to mean about the same thing as the "Turn, Turn, Turn" song from Ecclesiasties. Sychronisity, here, or what?


26 Jul 00 - 01:18 AM (#264802)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Amergin

I have a tape of Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie in concert together and Pete's grandson Taos (?) sings this song, if I remember correctly during the introduction Pete says (paraphrasing here) that it's a political song from Argentina against the tryannical military government. I may be wrong though....

Amergin


26 Jul 00 - 01:47 AM (#264814)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Amergin

No, apparently I got my head stuck up my arse again (anyone have some special surgical equipment to help me with my malady?). I was thinking of another song that's on that tape....It still looks political to me...Well, I'm off to bed before I do anymore misinforming...

Amergin


26 Jul 00 - 01:50 AM (#264816)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Sorcha

'Spaw can probably help you, Amergin. He needs this service regularly, and has a proctologist on retainer.


26 Jul 00 - 02:28 AM (#264818)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Stewie

Amergin, I have it sung by Seeger on a double album with Si Kahn and Jane Sapp 'Carry It On: Songs of America's Working People' Flying Fish. He noted that the traditional Spanish song had become 'a virtual anthem for the United Farm Workers in their long struggle to organise workers in the vineyards and lettuce fields of California'.

--Stewie.


26 Jul 00 - 03:04 AM (#264826)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Joe Offer

I'd like to know more about where this song comes from. It brings back a lot of happy memories for me.
In Carry It On which Pete Seeger wrote with Bob Reiser (1985), it says "this traditional Spanish song became the theme song of the United Farm Workers of America, led by Cesar Chavez"; and "the theme song of the most militant strike of the last quarter-century speaks only of the colors and sounds of the earth, which are everyone's birthright."
Here's the book's more literal translation:
In colors, in colors, the fields in the spring dress up.
In colors, in colors, the little birds come from far off.
In colors, in colors, the rainbow we see glistening;
And that's why those big many-colored loves are what I like.

The rooster, the rooster, sings with his cock--a-doodle-doo;
The hen, the hen, with cackle-a-cackle-a cackle-a-cack;
The chicks, the chicks, with their cheepy-cheepy-cheepy-cheepy-cheep.
And that's why those big many-colored loves are what I like.
Tune and complete Spanish lyrics are in the database here (click). Why it's listed as N-DE COLORES, I don't know.

I know first-hand the song was a favorite of the Cursillo Movement (that's where I learned it), and I'm sure many United Farm Workers leaders and members were cursillistas.
For those of you not interested in following the links, here's a brief description:
A Cursillo is a three-day learning, sharing, experience of living in a Christian community. The word "Cursillo" is Spanish, meaning "a short course". Cursillo is an abbreviation of the full title: 'Cursillo de Christiandad' which means, "A short course in Christian Living". During the three days of a Cursillo, a person not only hears inspiring talks on what it really means to be a Christian today, but actually experiences the joy of building and being part of a genuine Christian community. The Christian community formed during a Cursillo is very similar to the Christian communities in the early days of the Church.
And we sang, constantly - and told lots of dumb jokes. And yes, it was a good, moving experience.
-Joe Offer-


26 Jul 00 - 04:49 AM (#264848)
Subject: DT Correction: De Colores
From: Escamillo

It's a shame I don't know the origins of this song, but I can contribute with lyrics with typos corrected:

De Colores

De Colores, De Colores se visten los campos en la primavera.
De Colores, De colores son los pajaritos que vienen de afuera.
De Colores, De colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir.
Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.

Canta el gallo, Canta el gallo, con el kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri ---
La gallina, La gallina, con el kara kara kara kara kara ---
Los polluelos, Los polluelos, con el pio pio pio pio pi ---
Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.

Un abrazo - Andrés


26 Jul 00 - 06:11 AM (#264863)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Joe Offer

Hey, I found a couple more verses here (click). They're close to two of the English verses dwditty posted above. Didn't find a Spanish "pescadores" (fishermen) verse, though. Still more verses here (click).
-Joe Offer-

De colores, de colores
brillantes y finos se viste la aurora
De colores, de colores
son los mil reflejos que el sol atresora
De colores, de colores
se viste el diamante que vemos lucir
Coro:

Jubilosos, jubilosos
vivamos en gracia pues porque se puede
Sacicaremos, saciaremos
la sed ardorosa del rel que no muere
Jubilosos, jubilosos
llevemos a Cristo un alma y mil mas

|: Difundiendo la luz que ilumino
   la gracia divina del gran ideal. :|


26 Jul 00 - 07:13 AM (#264869)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: dwditty

This song, as I posted it, is the first one in the Tres Dias songbook. In a nutshell, Tres Dias is a non-denominational version of Cusillo.


26 Jul 00 - 08:57 AM (#264909)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Dani

OK, so are the Christian lyrics part of the original folk song, or were they added? When/where/by whom?

Mudcatters, Detective Division, report for duty.


26 Jul 00 - 10:38 AM (#264966)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Downeast Bob

I'm a Cursillista, too, and I never heard the Christian verses during my Cursillo back in the 70s. My guess is they were added later. Even though I agree with the sentiments expressed in those verses, I think the song is better without them. It's essentially a celebration of life, with chickens and roosters and rainbows and all those wonderful, commonplace things that fill our hearts with joy.


26 Jul 00 - 11:03 PM (#265478)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Dani - guessing from this Cursillo link, the religious verses came later. However, it appears that the song may have been popular in Cursillo first, and then moved to popularity in the United Farm Workers movement. I was involved in a youth program related to Cursillo in the 1960's - I learned the standard two verses, but not the religious ones. I didn't come across the religious verses until dwditty posted them here yesterday.
Curillo, by the way, is an ecumenical movement that finds a home in the so-called "mainstream" churches. Cursillistas can often be found in movements that work for social justice. I don't know of any connection between Cursillo and Evangelical Christianity - it seems to be more for the "liberal" side of Christianity. I've been quite impressed with Cursillo. Heck, it can even get Episcopalians to show a little emotion....
(grin)
-Joe Offer-


27 Jul 00 - 06:40 AM (#265585)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: dwditty

I heard a story about how this song came to be. I have no idea if it is true. Anyway, a bus load of farm workers were on their way somewhere when their bus broke down. To kill the time while waiting for the bus to be fixed, they sat on the hillside and began to sing. The beauty of the valley stretching out before them was such that it inspired the song. Perhaps this has something to do with why the United Farm Workers adopted it.

When I have sung this song with Tres Dias groups, we often sing verses 1, 2, and 5 from my post above.

dw


27 Jul 00 - 09:14 AM (#265652)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Dani

Joe, there's a joke over here in NC about there being so much religious fervor in certain areas that even the Episcopalians (!) handle snakes.

My early years were spent in CA, and this song (as well as the bumper sticker that accompanied its association with the farm workers) is one of my earliest musical memories. Not sure why. Didn't hear it again until I heard Tao Rodriquez-Seeger sing it with Pete at Carnegie Hall many years later, and I've enjoyed sharing it with others since then.

De Colores has another point of usefulness: it helps us not-yet-Spanish-speakers learn a song that we can sing in Spanish without butchering the thing.

Dani


27 Jul 00 - 08:16 PM (#266146)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: GUEST,Annraoi

!Qué maravilla!, Me recuerdo los días de mi juventud en Madrid hace más de 30 anos. These were versos without any religious significance. Why can't the religiosos make up their own songs and not take those of others. No olvidemos the 7th commandment, "Thou shalt not steal."!! Annraoi


27 Jul 00 - 08:31 PM (#266157)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: McGrath of Harlow

Is there a link to a tune for this anywhere?

Songs like this are always potentially religious, and always potentially political. Even when the people singing them don't think they are. They speak to the place where the two meet, which is the human heart.

Would it make sense to say that "We Shall Overcome" shouldn't be seen as religious or that it shouldn't be seen as political?

Sticking overtly religiose words into somgs like this isn't necessary and can get in the way of the real message. But that's a diffeent matter.


27 Jul 00 - 09:57 PM (#266212)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Joe Offer

I think it's a matter of taste, not religion, Annraoi. I'm a lay minister and I work in the church several days a week, and I don't like the "religious" lyrics of "De Colores" - I think they're tacky. And I really hate it when people change the words a bit and sing "Holly Holy" and "Bridge over Troubled Water" in church.
I have been told but I'm not sure I believe that Hoyt Axton himself wrote religions lyrics to his "Joy to the World" (Jeremiah was a prophet, Moses was a prophet too). I can't imagine Axton doing this. When our church choir did the song, I went and sat with the congregation and didn't sing.
I guess I have to say I feel uneasy with the use of Gregorian chant as some sort of New Age "healing music" by people who have no understanding or appreciation of the meaning of the scriptural texts sung in chant. I think the principle of religious tolerance includes an obligation to respect what others consider to be sacred.
I also feel uncomfortable with those who take the Christian "fish" symbol and put feet on it and Darwin's name inside. It's like an all-encompassing statement that all Christians reject the idea of evolution, which isn't true. I believe God created through the wonderful natural process called evolution, and that belief is held by many in the "mainstream" Christian churches.
Still, there's always been crossover between religious to secular music, so why not the other way around? See Gospel Origin - Labor & Civil Rights Songs. It appears that even "We Shall Overcome" is an adaptation of a gospel song.

-Joe Offer, still trying to find the origins of "De Colores"-
If I make a quip about Episcopalians and martinis, do you think that will be enough to get Praise to conk me on the head? I thought for sure we'd hear from her by now...


27 Jul 00 - 11:58 PM (#266296)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Joe Offer

Well, I got a message back from a friend who used to work with the United Farm Workers:
"De Colores" is not a children's song. It's more like a song of nationalism, from Spain I think, originally. When Anglos write a song about the country, the place, the nation we love, it is more didactic...'we're the greatest'. Now a Latin poet will be more subtle -- THE FERTILE EARTH, the colors, the birds flying, a rainbow AND a FAMILY of chickens...a powerful pastoral symbol...EL GALLO (the strutting testosterone laden male fighter), the MOTHER HEN (the very symbol of womanhood, birthing, protective nurturing) and the BABIES....Oh, God, I love this!

Gringos write didactic prose; Latins write flowing poetry.

Furthermore, I believe "De Colores" was transported from Spain by the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement...very much connected to the advent and momentum of Roman Catholic reform in the 60s and onward.
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


28 Jul 00 - 08:48 AM (#266493)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Dani

Thanks, Joe! You're the best!

The concept of the patriotic (or xenophobic) in music and how it translates in and from different cultures is fascinating. When I have a little more time I'll begin another thread because I just had an experience with this issue.

Dani


12 Jan 02 - 07:22 AM (#626497)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Refresh- any more info?


12 Jan 02 - 02:47 PM (#626709)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: GUEST,Genie without her cookie

Well, Here's the version that's in "Singing the Living Tradition" (the current Unitarian-Universalist Hymnal in the US). Personally, I like Arkin's lyrics a lot, even though (as Garrison Keillor might attest) I wouldn't put it past my fellow U-Us to use the original Spanish song, poultry verses and all, as the anthem for a Sunday morning service.
I always include this version in programs I do for Martin Luther King Day.
Genie

De Colores
(Traditional Spanish Folksong; English Words: David Arkin © 1992

De colores, de colores se visten los campos en la primavera.

De colores, de colores son los pajaritos que vienen de afuera.

De colores, de colores es el arco iris que vemos lucir

Y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores me gustan a mí.

All the colors,
All the colors we see in the springtime with all of its flowers.

All the colors,
When the sunlight shines out through a rift in the cloud & it showers.

All the colors,
As a rainbow appears when a storm cloud is touched by the sun.

All the colors abound for the whole world around

And for everyone under the sun.

All the colors,
Yes the colors of people parading on by with their banners.
All the colors,
Yes, the colors of pennants & steamers & plumes & bandanas.
All the colors,
yes the colors of people now taking their place in the sun.
All the colors abound for the whole world around
And for everyone under the sun.

All the colors,
Yes the black & the white & the red & the brown and the yellow.
All the colors,
All the colors of people who smile & shake hands and say, "Hello!"
All the colors,
Yes, the colors of people who know that their freedom is won.
All the colors abound for the whole world around
And for everyone under the sun.


13 Jan 02 - 08:33 AM (#627006)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: Wilfried Schaum

Hi Joe,

about the origins: In my little Spanish songbook for the use in German schools for Spanish lessons I found as countries of reference Mexico/Castilia/Vizcaya.
Two stanzas given: De colores ... and Canta el gallo...
Translation of commentary: "A similar song is sung in Spain. In Mexico it worked further on. De colores sounds like a popular hymn to the beauty of nature, into which man is embedded. When the underpaid Mexican farm workers in the south of the USA intonate during their strikes, it also gains a political dimension..."
Unfortunately, the editor doesn't giv a reference to a scientific collection where he got it from.
Ehlers, Klaus:¡A cantar! / Klaus Ehlers, Elinor Haase, Bernhard Schmidt. - Stuttgart : Klett, 2000

Best regards Wilfried


13 Jan 02 - 08:42 AM (#627011)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: wysiwyg

Joe, martoonies and Episcopalians don't go together much these days, but I heard they used to, in response to your jokingly trolled comment! Now a lot of us DO go to Cursillo.... many dioceses have active Cursillo networks and Hardi has run his share. I was surprised to hear you call it an Archie movement. Over here on our side of the Tiber I think we think it's bigger than any denomination, and is a movement of the Holy Spirit. *G* Yes, the Episcopalians at Cursillo sing De Colores.... which is one reason not to go.

~Susan


13 Jan 02 - 01:18 PM (#627161)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: GUEST,TNDARLN

"The Walk to Emmaus" is another version of the Cursillo and Tres Dias, with the Emmaus Walk being housed in the United Methodist denomination, though open to all denominations. And we sing De Colores. [or I should say they sing it: I've been on the Walk/served on teams, but since the singing of it becomes a hollering thing, I just smile.]

So, how many folks do we have here who've done Cursillo, Tres Dias, or Emmaus? T [not a guest!]


13 Jan 02 - 03:23 PM (#627219)
Subject: RE: De Colores
From: allie kiwi

I sing this song with my toddler son and had no idea of it having any significance outside of being a 'children's song'. Once again the wonderful mudcatters have enlightened me. Thanks.

Allie


15 Jun 08 - 10:05 PM (#2366625)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

The two verses given by Escamillo seem to be the original Spanish lyrics (or as close as one can get in a song that is folk or has become folk.
Mexican sources allege that it came to the Americas in the 16th century.
As Joe suggests, it is not a rima infantile (children's rhyme), but a celebration of one's homeland.
I am searching through F. R. Marin, 1882-1883, "Cantos populares Españoles," a massive book of some 900 pages. As would be expected, it is not included in 'Rimas infantiles,' but I haven't figured out whether it is in 'Amorosos,' which he very broadly defined, or another section, or is not included at all. The book has no song title index, so looking up verses is not easy.

A third verse appears in some Spanish and Latin American versions on the web. It is without apparent religious significance. Joe posted a similar verse, but with a religious add-on.
All religious lyrics seem to be revisions, but without seeing old versions, this is just an opinion.

3
De colores, de colores brillantes y finos se viste la aurora
De colores, de colores son los mil reflejos que el sol atesora
De colores, de colores se viste el diamante que vemos lucir
y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores me gustan a mí
y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores me gustan a mí.

kiri=quiri, both spellings occur in Spanish.


15 Jun 08 - 11:09 PM (#2366643)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

So far, I find no reliable information on the origin or age of this song. Not in Marin, Cantos populares españoles. Most information is related to the beginning of the Cursillo movement (see post by Joe Offer).

The 16th c. origin mentioned in Wikipedia and elsewhere is not verifiable with what I have found. Not found in Spanish colonial New Mexico compilations.


16 Jun 08 - 06:29 PM (#2367407)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Stringsinger

Dave Arkin's lyric (Dave is Alan's father) is in my opinion the most acceptable.

I have changed it a little.

"All the colors, yes, the colors we see in the rainbow and all of the flowers,
All the colors, yes, the colors we see in the rainbow that follows the showers,
All the colors, yes, the colors of people now taking their place in the sun.
All the colors abound, the whole world around
For people when freedom is won.
All the colors abound, the whole world around
For people when freedom is won."

Frank Hamilton


16 Jun 08 - 07:12 PM (#2367444)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

..."when freedom is won"? Politics, religion, both unsuited to the song.

And what kind of freedom are you talking about?


17 Jun 08 - 07:19 PM (#2368306)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Greg B

No, sir, I don't like it in English. It doesn't have the magnificent
quality as in Spanish.

"y por eso los grandes amores de muchos colores me gustan a mí"

has to be one of the most lovely, tripping-off-the-tongue, lines
of any song in existence. Heck, my Spanish is nearly non-existent,
but the first time I sang the song in church at the feast of
Our Lady of Guadalupe I was hooked.

Come to think of it, the whole thing has sort of been honed
to perfection as both a great lyric a sort of a 'tone poem.'

Don't mess with it.


03 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM (#2828992)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Genie

Doug Reymore, of the Seattle Folklore Society, sang several more verses to De Colores in Spanish at a song circle recently.   I hope I can persuade him to post them here and tell you about their origins.


03 Feb 10 - 05:59 PM (#2829275)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Monique

On this document they say it went from Central Spain to America in the 16th century - just on top of the sheet music, last page but one.
There you can read "Source: Las canciones del pueblo español. Juan de Aguila (Unión musical española) - Page. 208" and it's said to come from the Basque Country .


03 Feb 10 - 06:39 PM (#2829319)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: GUEST,Dani

Oh, you are so right, Greg.

What is it about that LINE!? You dance with it when you sing it.

Dani


04 Feb 10 - 04:37 PM (#2830154)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: De Colores
From: Genie

I believe some of the other Spanish language verses that Doug (and others) sang are more recent.   If Doug doesn't post them himself, and their origin, I will when I get them.