Multiculturality, Music, Spanish

Mi burrito sabanero

This song was composed for the holiday season in 1972 by the famed Venezuelan composer Hugo Blanco (known for the song Moliendo Café) and has become a Christmas favorite in much of Latin America. My wife Alicia Isabel Santacruz recorded this version some years ago, with a light arrangement by Jaime Chávez.

Lyrics (English below):

Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belén
con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belén
Si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
El cielito montañero ilumina mi sendero
El cielito montañero ilumina mi sendero
Si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
Si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
Tuqui tuqui tuqui tuqui, tuqui tuqui tuqui ta
Aapurate mi burrito que ya vamos a llegar
Tuqui tuqui tuqui tuqui, tuqui tuqui tuqui tu
Apúrate mi burrito vamos a ver a Jesús

With my little grassland donkey, I’m on my way to Bethlehem
With my little grassland donkey, I’m on my way to Bethlehem
If you see me, if you see me, I’m on my way to Bethlehem
If you see me, if you see me, I’m on my way to Bethlehem
The mountain sky lights my way
The mountain sky lights my way
If you see me, if you see me, I’m on my way to Bethlehem
If you see me, if you see me, I’m on my way to Bethlehem
Tuki tuki tuki tuki, tuki tuki tuki ta
Hurry my little donkey, we’re about to  arrive
Tuki tuki tuki tuki, tuki tuki tuki tu
Hurry my little donkey, we’re going to see Jesus

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18 thoughts on “Mi burrito sabanero

  1. I just love these chances to test my Spanish. So I grasped right away that there was this guy in an El Camino driving to some town called ‘Belen, and enjoying a take-out burrito; a very ‘understanding’ one at that. He wants to buy a Lucite something, but he worries about the Shining Way terrorists. tells a fellow,’ Jesus’ (Alou?) that he’ll: ‘See me ven I get there’. Yes a hopeful message.
    Ok, thanks for including your ‘alternate’ version. I’ll admit it has some merit.
    Now to listen to the tune, duh. I’ll be right back, +/- running out for enchilados.
    Actually I’ve eaten burritos both in Bethlehem, PA after a late-night gig there, and once, improbably, in Bethlehem, Israel (who stole the name from PA?) after doing a wedding-band appearance there. Bucket list is now down to finally eating an authentic burrito made with real, local-grown burritos in Mexico somewhere, if I can scale the Wall.

  2. Ok, lovely and enchanting! (after twice being told I daresn’t watch it from the troubled Middle East (Um.. the locale of the tune, duh!) And so, like todays’ modern auto, which simply ‘restarting’ fixes any problem, I was suddenly given permission.
    Love the chords, and the purposely innocent childlike feel.
    The picture doesn’t, however, portray an El Camino; bad news for my translation. (I remember way back when saying, quietly, to the buyers “So, couldn’t decide if you wanted a car.. or a truck, huh? Good luck with that thing, guy.’
    Anyway, I’d happily listen to it on Repeat here, with the rest of us unbelievers, as we slouch toward the 25th.

  3. A charming song! I guess the challenge with this subject matter is to convey the continuing nature of the journey: it started before we join the song, and it continues after we leave it. Too much climax would steal that from the song. Beautifully executed in this case.

    I was prompted to look up, why would a filled tortilla be named after a little burro? One suggestion was fascinating: it’s named after the bed-rolls carried on the donkey’s back.

    • Yes, a lovey tune, and Duncan, you noticed the careful time-frame aspect; wish I had also.
      (Oh, and you may note from my comment above that I’m ‘lost’ in more ways than one. Being facetious not only uses all the vowels in order, but also is a great diversion of attention from one’s ignorance.

  4. (Not to forget that this is a post about an enchanting song:) I must say that I’ve actually ridden a burro once, back when I weighed 2 stone soaking wet. The stubborn beast was uglier than Bolt, and slower than Hepburn.. (actually, her gait is better described as ‘stately and elegant’) Tim, here, can certainly bring us up to speed on ‘la burrito’ or el burrito.. or whatever it’s called in Latin, the language of latinos.

    • The last time I remember riding a donkey was almost exactly 41 years ago when we spent part of Christmas vacation on a ranch on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. The most memorable parts of the visit were the chiggers, helping pull taffy, fishing for and eating scrawny creek fish, and watching the slaughter of a poor cow that had her back broken by a bull several times her size. Also I learned the word “carnero” in reference to a very unhappy lamb that was waiting to meet its doom. And, of course, riding horses and donkeys around the ranch.

      Very few of my childhood Christmas memories involve snow and cold weather. One or two do involve donkeys and similar beasts.

  5. While I re-listen to the addicting song, I googled ‘chiggers’. Nasty. Makes a guy want to plan revenge. (And I’m still pissed at the donkey from 15 years ago who left a permanent scar in my left upper arm. Only my cow-hand training saved me from being literally eaten by the mentally-ill POS.

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