La tarara
Language Resources

Canción: La tarara, de Federico García Lorca

This month’s song is a bit curious: Federico García Lorca composed it based on several Spanish songs for children. It talks about a crazed woman who prances about the countryside dancing. The word tarara in fact means to be crazy. The Spanish poet’s famous song goes like this:

La Tarara, sí;
la tarara, no;
la Tarara, niña,
que la he visto yo.
Lleva la Tarara
un vestido verde
lleno de volantes
y de cascabeles.
La Tarara, sí;
la tarara, no;
la Tarara, niña,
que la he visto yo.
Luce mi Tarara
su cola de seda
sobre las retamas
y la hierbabuena.
Ay, Tarara loca.
Mueve, la cintura
para los muchachos
de las aceitunas.

La Tarara, yes;
la Tarara, no;
la Tarara, girl,
I’ve seen her.
La Tarara wears
a green dress
full of frills
and bells
La Tarara, yes;
la Tarara, no;
la Tarara, girl,
I’ve seen her.
My Tarara sports
a silk tail
over the retama
and the mint
Oh, mad Tarara.
Move, your waist
for the kids
of the olives

Originally this song was a “canción de corro”, a song sung by children as they danced in circles holding hands, like Ring Around the Rosey. The lyrics could also vary according to region. Some specialists have suggested that it may have originally been a Sephardic Jewish copla, although the first known versions date back to the 19th century. García Lorca’s version can still be heard in some grade schools.