Here are all of my favorite traditional Christmas songs from Spanish-speaking countries, as well as some Spanish-language-versions of English songs (I included those in the document because they are part of the ‘International SongFest’ that our district celebrates every year; we don’t spend much time on them in class.). The lyrics are in this document:
1. Los peces en el río
This is a traditional Spanish Christmas song that describes the life of Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus) after Jesus was born. The song talks about fish “drinking” in the river, but you can think of it as though they are swimming excitedly, completely overtaken with joy for being able to witness the birth of God. Mary, who is the mother of Jesus, is shown here to be a normal woman who now has to tend to the normal duties of being a woman and a mother–combing her hair and taking care of dirty diapers.
I use Shaila Durcal’s version because it is AWESOME and super dramatic, but Pandora’s is fun, too. We have lots of movements to accompany the song; we act out the verses, and pretty much go disco on the chorus.
2. Campana sobre Campana
I use RBD’s version because it has a great groove.
3. Rin Rin
This video is HILARIOUS and from the 80’s, so I always show it to my students and see who can best imitate the sweet dance moves (I always win, of course…can’t help it if I have awesome moves). There are many good versions of the song on iTunes, and I rotate between them. This song is so much fun because it is NOT easy to spit out all of the lyrics, but it sure is fun to try!
4. El burrito sabanero/El burrito de Belén
Hugo Blanco, of Venezuela, wrote this song in 1975, although it was not recorded for several years. This is a song about a donkey: a very un-special donkey, as it is called a “burrito sabanero”, which could be translated as a little country donkey, or a little grassland donkey.
“Voy camino” means I am going + the way/road = I’m going on the road, or “I’m on my way” A “cuatrico” is a string instrument, with four strings, that is smaller than a guitar.
We always listen to the ‘Niños cantores’ version first and the Juanes version later. We have gestures to this song, as well, that match the lyrics. After we know the song well, it’s always fun to watch this funny video from YouTube: