campás, comparsa, cumbanchear, mulatona (From an old song)

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This is an old Latin Jazz song from the 40's that fascinates me. It was used in the movie "Forbidden Zone" and my transcription is taken from the subtitles on the DVD. Any errors would stem from that.

Bim Bam Boom
Bim Bam Boom, Bim Bam Boom
Es el nuevo campás
Que los negros van bailando en la comparsa.
Bim Bam Boom, Bim Bam Boom
La mulatona Mercedes arrollando va detrás de la comparsa.
Ya no quieren cumbanchear las negritas del solar
Si no tocan al compás de este ritmo así
Suénalo, báilalo, gózalo
Bim Bam Boom, Bim Bam Boom
¡Qué sabrosito está
Este paso arrollador de la comparsa!

I can supply the discographic info if anyone wants to locate a copy of the song. It is included on the "Forbidden Zone" soundtrack CD but it is altered from the original recording.

7993 views
updated SEP 21, 2008
posted by ROBERT-ANTHENAT

5 Answers

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"Solar" can be a "patio", but it's more like a small upper apartment with a tiny balcony that faces the sun. Think of the old, tall buildings in La habana where people hang their laundry over the railing or have lines draped across the balcony. That's mi idea of a "solar". Another thing comes to mind: Ruben Blades group, Seis del Solar. That's like six guys living in an efficiency aparment. Whoa! Think poor, starving college buddies.

On another matter: "cumbanchear". It can mean to party. If you've ever seen the cumbancha, the lurching movements sort of replicate a drunken person's gait. "Ese José, lo ví anoche. Andaba cumbancheando como si tomara toda una caja de Havana Club." I hope this helps.

ROBERT ANTHENAT said:

Hey, thanks a lot. I've been trying to puzzle this out with only a minimal knowledge of Spanish. I have studied French much more extensively and had 3 years of H.S. Latin so I recognize a lot of cognates--I get a clue to the meaning if not the exact definition. Entering the more obscure words into the online dictionary, I noticed that the most likely definitions are the ones identified as Caribbean. When I entered the whole lyric into the automatic translators, "comparsa" came out as "walk-on" and "extra" (as in a movie) but the dictionary gave me " Dance team. (Caribbean)" which I rightly guessed made the most sense in this context. The composer, Noro Morales, was fom Puerto Rico. I probably should have mentioned that in my original post. Since I have imposed on you this far: Am I right in thinking that "solar" is best translated "patio" here ? How about "sabrosito"; obviously a form of "sabroso" but how would you translate it ? And, finally, "cumbancha" came back as "spree, drinking bout" and "cumbanchear" wasn't found but looks like an infinitive--am I safe in saying, "to go on a spree, to party, or to cut loose"--something like that 'Thanks again

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updated SEP 21, 2008
posted by DonBigoteDeLaLancha
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Thanks for your insights. I was way off on "cumbanchear". The version I have is sung by Miguelito Valdes but I don't know which band he was with for this recording. I know that there are versions with Xavier Cugat, Noro Morales, and Machito & His Afro-Cubans.

updated AGO 31, 2008
posted by ROBERT-ANTHENAT
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Esto sounds to me to be Cuban. I don't have it, but I'm thinking it might be Ernesto Lecuona or Arsenio Rodríguez. "Cumbanchear" is to dance is the particular Cuban way of Santiago de Cuba (In Oriente province). "Comparsas" are the musical dance groups or teams formed during Canival in Santiago. It's very similar to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Or Rio de Janeiro), sino the music is different. "Rumba" comes to mind. "Mulatona" refers to a mulatto woman. It can mean a "big woman" but is most likely a mulatto woman who "knows her stuff", who drives the crowd wild with her expert interpretation of the cumbancha. Excellent music!

updated AGO 31, 2008
posted by DonBigoteDeLaLancha
0
votes

Hey, thanks a lot. I've been trying to puzzle this out with only a minimal knowledge of Spanish. I have studied French much more extensively and had 3 years of H.S. Latin so I recognize a lot of cognates--I get a clue to the meaning if not the exact definition. Entering the more obscure words into the online dictionary, I noticed that the most likely definitions are the ones identified as Caribbean. When I entered the whole lyric into the automatic translators, "comparsa" came out as "walk-on" and "extra" (as in a movie) but the dictionary gave me " Dance team. (Caribbean)" which I rightly guessed made the most sense in this context. The composer, Noro Morales, was fom Puerto Rico. I probably should have mentioned that in my original post. Since I have imposed on you this far: Am I right in thinking that "solar" is best translated "patio" here ? How about "sabrosito"; obviously a form of "sabroso" but how would you translate it ? And, finally, "cumbancha" came back as "spree, drinking bout" and "cumbanchear" wasn't found but looks like an infinitive--am I safe in saying, "to go on a spree, to party, or to cut loose"--something like that ?
Thanks again

updated AGO 31, 2008
posted by ROBERT-ANTHENAT
0
votes

"Campás" is probably a mistake, and it should have been "compás", to refer to rhythm or beat.

"Comparsa" is a word for some sort of "group", generally when they are all dressed in a similar way and play or dance music, particularly in carnivals.

"Mulatona" is "mulata" plus an ending for big or impressive in feminine (-ona).

updated AGO 31, 2008
posted by lazarus1907