Babalu memories

Val titled his post Arbolito (little tree), which is the title of an old villancico, a traditional Spanish Christmas song. Spanish from Spain, as opposed to being from Puerto Rico, where the Christmas songs are called aguinaldos.

Val’s post reminded me of when I was six or seven years old, and my brother, who was four, got a hold of some old (and I mean old even then) 78s and would play them over and over and over. Little kids love repetition and, le me tell ya, he repeated that music. Even I started getting tired of the stuff. I don’t remember what my mother had to say about it, so she must have been very tolerant. The neighborhood houses were close enough together — and my brother played the records loudly enough — that the next door neighbor, a pleasant and sober man whose mother had recently moved in to live with, was driven batty. The neighbor ended up playing at least as loudly his records of the opera Aida, which probably means that we lived in a nice area. Either that, or salsa wasn’t in the hit parade yet. I can imagine that the resulting dueling music probably drove a neighbor or two to drink.

As you can deduce from all this, all this took place quite a while ago. Still, the song still remains, and here are the lyrics,

Esta noche es noche buena

Vamos al monte, hermanito

A cortar un arbolito

Porque la noche es serena

Los reyes y los pastores

Cantan siguiendo una estrella

Le cantan a Jesus niño

Hijo de la Virgin bella

Arbolito, arbolito

Campanitas te pondré

Quiero que seas bonito

Que al recién nacido te voy a ofrecer

Iremos por el camino

Caminito de Belén

Iremos porque esta noche

Ha nacido el niño rey

Glora Estefan recorded it, in case you want to hear the music. BTW, she didn’t write the lyrics. That song was around before she was even born.

One Response to “”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I remember that old christmas song and I’ve been looking for it for a long time. Do you how to get the original recording? I know Gloria Stefan recorded it recently, but I am interested in the old version.