Author Archive
general
Musical

De Tin Marin –Mexican Sorting Song

Main Piece:

“De tin marin, de don pingue

Cucara marcara, titere fue

Yo no fui, you tete

Que ese merito fue”

It can be translated* as follows:

“From Tin Marin, from two big ones,

Cockroach, mockroach, it was a puppet,

It wasn’t me, it was Teté,

the one who did it”

*edited from mamalisa.com–see citation below

Background:

This was performed by a student at the University of Southern California who comes from a Mexican/Catholic household. She went on to describe this as song “sort of like the ‘inny, miny, moe, except in Spanish.”  Her dad had taught it to her when she was a kid and remembers using it before she would play Freeze tag or other games with her family and friends.

Context:

This was performed when talking about childhood. There was a discussion happening about how growing up as first generation Mexican/Mexican American was different in California as compared to Arkansas. The song was brought up at this moment, but recorded at a later date.

Analysis:

This sorting song is very interesting. I had only ever heard it from my own parents, so hearing the differences caught my attention. The student says “que ese merito fue” as the last line of the song. However, other versions, including my own, end with “pegale, pegale, que ese merito fue.” The difference between these two is the “pegale, pegale” which translates to “hit (him/her), hit (him/her).” This difference might have to do with the student’s parents being highly religious, as noted through my interactions with her. Encouraging to harm another person would not have fit within her household.

The song itself has little actual meaning. The words rhythmically go together well and are structured so that it is easy to point at people on each syllable (like other sorting songs). It is also interesting that towards the end, it sounds like someone is accusing someone else of whatever action got the song started. For example, the “pegale, pegale, que ese merito fue” can alternatively be translated to “hit him, hit him, because he did it.” The blame ends up falling on whoever was pointed at last.

Website:

Songs and Rhymes from Mexico “Tin marin de does pingue.” Retrieved from Mama Lisa’s World “International Music and Culture.” website. mamalisa.com

Legends

El Paso–Thunderbird

Main Piece:

The Participant is marked as BH. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: Can you tell me some history about El Paso?

BH: Oh, so…in El Paso there is this…legend that if you look up into the mountains as the sun is setting, you can see the shadow of a Thunderbird. And…one of the..as a result of the shadow that you can see in the mountains, one of the school’s in the city…their mascots is called the Thunderbirds. That’s pretty much all I know. I’ve never seen the Thunderbird myself, but it exists on the mountains…its has a really big wingspan.

LJ: Who did you hear it from?

BH: I had heard it from my boyfriend, but previously I had also heard it from other people. Some other El Paso-ans. They were old–like in their fifties.

Context:

I had visited the participant and her family in El Paso, Texas in March. This was recorded after.

Background:

The participant is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California. She is a firm believer in religion and likes “scary stories,” including television shows and hearing about hauntings. She grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas with her mom and two sisters.

Analysis:

So much history and lore in El Paso! The Thunderbird, according to the Wikipedia page (most refutable source that I could find on it), is a creature from North American beliefs. The other three accounts from El Paso (find them on my account) include a more recent ghost history in El Paso High and a perhaps older ghost story about a monk traveling along the mountain. This story ties not into the Western culture that came into Western Texas during the 1700s, but about the rich cultures that we almost wiped out.

They have transferred over  into the general pool of El Paso-an stories/legends. It might be a way to continue remebering the peoples that inhabited that land before Americans or even “mestizos” from Mexico.

Wikipedia Page:

Thunderbird (mythology). Retrieved 4/25/17. Web. wikipedia.com

Legends

El Paso Trans-mountain Road

Main Piece:

The Participant is marked as BH. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: Can you tell me some history about El Paso?

BH: Oh, so…in El Paso there are a stretch of mountains called the Franklin Mountains. And these happen to be the end of the Rocky Mountains which stretch all through the united states. And what is interesting about these mountains it is said that you’re not supposed drive on this road on the Trans-mountain road–which literally cuts through the mountains. So you’re not supposed to drive on this road after midnight. One because there are a lot of accidents and two there is folklore of ghosts on the road. Either hitching for rides or a monk that walks around with a donkey–well he’s a friar, with a donkey haha. And he’s in search of the treasure that supposedly exists in the mountains.

Context:

I had visited the participant and her family in El Paso, Texas in March. This was recorded after.

Background:

The participant is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California. She is a firm believer in religion and likes “scary stories,” including television shows and hearing about hauntings. She grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas with her mom and two sisters.

Analysis:

This shows part of the great history that El Paso has. There is so much from Native American groups to the Mexican-American war to the waves of immigration that it sees coming in from Cuidad Juarez. It was obvious that there were more stories to these mountains, but I stuck with this one.

The monk/friar in search for treasure is actually a little funny. The ideals of a monk, as I understand them, are to denounce worldly possessions, so for the monk to be looking for treasure so long after his death is almost incredulous. However, perhaps this began as him looking for something else, or it could have been a result of period when the church was not trusted by the peoples of El Paso.

These stories open paths that need further exploration to make full sense of them.

general

El Paso Ghosts–Cheerleader

Main Piece:

The Participant is marked as BH. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: Can you tell me about El Paso High School.

BH: And there have also been tales of a cheerleader who committed suicide, ah, from a broken heart. Her boyfriend had, um. either broken up or cheated on her. And she decided to end her life by jumping from the third story balcony.

LJ: How did you learn about the ghosts?

BH: I would hear them all the time when I was growing up. Um…I think I heard them more around middle school. There were kids who would go out to the school at night. So sometimes they would hear things..

 

Context:

I had visited the participant and her family in El Paso in March. This was recorded after.

Background:

The participant is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California. She is a firm believer in religion and likes “scary stories,” including television shows and hearing about hauntings. She grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas with her mom and two sisters.

Analysis:

This is an example of how ghost stories are passed from one person to the next, immortalizing the event and history of the place. It is interesting to note that the location of the girls jump is specific, but not by enough. The participant states that she jumped from the “third story balcony.” However, I did visit this school during my time in El Paso. It is built so that the original entrance is now in the back, and another entrance was built in what used to be the back. There is also only one balcony, on the second floor, not the third. Maybe this is just a mix up in the story telling, or proof that there never was a suicide–which is not likely.

A high school with so much history, must have some bad stories to it. The legend of the cheerleader could serve as a way to acknowledge the way that women have been treated, or it might just be fun to tell to strangers visiting the city for the first time.

Legends

El Paso High Ghost-Moratorium

Main Piece:

The Participant is marked as BH. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: Can you tell me about El Paso High School.

BH: So El Paso High is known as the oldest high school in El Paso, but beyond that, its also the most haunted high school in the city. It used to be um, the moratorium for world war 11 soldiers who had died in combat, but had no family members reclaim their bodies. So all these bodies were just left there…so as a result, it has been said that there are many ghosts that wander the halls of all of these veterans who have not been able to find peace.

LJ: How did you learn about the ghosts?

BH: I would hear them all the time when I was growing up. Um…I think I heard them more around middle school. There were kids who would go out to the school at night. So sometimes they would hear things..

 

Context:

I had visited the participant and her family in El Paso in March. This was recorded after.

Background:

The participant is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California. She is a firm believer in religion and likes “scary stories,” including television shows and hearing about hauntings. She grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas with her mom and two sisters.

Analysis:

This is an example of how ghost stories are passed from one person to the next, immortalizing the event and history of the place. In this case, El Paso High, being the oldest has a lot of history. Not all of the stories may be true, but they are believed by a large amount of the population in El Paso. Being there, I also learned that since El Paso is so close knit, many of the stories and beliefs are shared by the community. Every place I went on my visit had some sort of history to it. There were plaques along the walls and in the pavement, but a lot of what I learned came from listening to native El Paso-ans speak about their city.

 

general

Ecuadorian Food

Main Piece:

The Participant is noted as CM. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: What type of food is served at your parties back home?

CM: Before I used to live in the, uh, Ecuadorian neigborhood…before it got really gang infested….ha. But my mom used to cook a lot for the community. Um, but we have typical um rice, ensalada [salad]. And we have this thing called Ornado. Its like a leg of pork, but its like …its like the same way that you do rotisserie chicken, but with a leg of pork. And it has a lot of Ecuadorian spices. We also have this thing called fritada. Its fried pig fat, which is also a staple of Ecuador. We also have mote–its the grains that’s in pozole [Mexican chicken stew with hominy]. We mix it with different vegetables…and yea…

LJ: Haha thanks. Who is food cooked for?

CM: We have a lot of people who haven’t been able to visit Ecuador. And yea we make it for everyone who can’t go back.

 

Context:

I asked the participant to tell me about what it was like to grow up Ecuadorian in Chicago. She touched on parties and food–above is the food aspect of it.

Background:

The participant is of Ecuadorian descent and has lived in Chicago most of her life. She is, at the time of the recording, a first year student at the University of Southern California.

Analysis:

 This shows so much connection and love for her community. Food helps preserve the culture that was, in a way, left behind in Ecuador. It serves as not only a connection to the past, but also continues to transmit the culture from generation to generation as the children learn how to host these parties and cook the food.

It is reinforced by the idea that the food itself carries a lot of cultural meaning, especially for those that are disconnected from Ecuador.

 

Foodways

Ecuadorian Parties in Chicago

Main Piece:

Participant marked with CM below. I am noted as LJ.

LJ: What was it like growing up in Chicago as an Ecuadorian?

CM: We had a lot of parties where you pay $20 at the door. We have a lot of Ecuadorian artists that um donate their time. And we have, um, a lot of people who make food for us. Oh, and we all dance from like 7 to 2am.

LJ: What else happens at these parties?

CM: We don’t really like to spend money on outside people. The community supports eachother…we’re a small community so we’re really family based.

 

Context:

I asked the participant to tell me about what it was like to grow up Ecuadorian in Chicago. She touched on parties and food–above is the party aspect of it.

Background:

The participant is a first generation Ecuadorian-American in Chicago. She is currently a first year at the University of Southern California.

Analysis:

The Ecuadorian community in Chicago seems very close knit by the way that the parties seem to operate. The participant spoke about feeling a great support within the community. It is evident in how she mentions that, for their parties they reach out to other people within their neighborhood. Music, food, and fun serves to help the keep the group together.

The participant later went on to tell me that she feels that these parties help maintain the traditions of Ecuador–that they are especially important to those who have never been or can not go back to Ecuador.

 

Folk medicine

Cold Remedies

Main Piece:

The participant/interviewee is marked as MG.

MG: “No salgas con el cabello mojado.” (Don’t go out with wet hair)

“If you wet you feet, you have to take a shower.”

If you go to the beach you have to take a shower…a lot of sayings have to do with getting sick.

LJ: When do you get these? Are their remedies?

MG: They’re about getting…catching the cold or a fever. Um…my mom usually gives me some “vaporu” (Vapor Rub). Hahaha. And like, and then again, because I’m really sick and I didn’t listen the first time, I shouldn’t go outside. And then if I DO go outside, I have to cover up, especially the nasal passages.

Ohhh! There’s like certain things. One of the most recent things that my mom told me, she probably learned it from the radio. Its vinger…apple cider vinegar. If you do garggles, then that kinda clears up your throat.

LJ: Do they make you feel better?

MG: Mmmm….it’s not really a quick result. So if you keep doing it, it helps. Hahaha But it might just be that over time you get better.

 

Context:

Participant and I were walking at night on the way to an event. This conversation was recorded then.

Background:

Marisol: The participant is a second year student at the University of Southern California. She was raised in Santa Ana, California in a Mexican/Catholic background. She has two older siblings and lives in a two parent household.

Analysis:

There are many Mexican sayings about how to avoid being sick. MG touched on a few of these. However, she received all of them from her mother. Indicating that perhaps her mom is the more caring parent or the one that spends the most time with the children.

Within the interview, MG mentioned “vaporu” an American-made topical gel intended to help with minor diseases, like the common cold. It is common remedy within the Mexican community. There are several articles/memes about how often it is used. The participated acknowledged understanding the context of it by laughing.

Although the participant takes these remedies, she also sees that they may only be helping her mentally–as a placebo affect. This is a way in which traditional/folk knowledge intersects with academic/scientific knowledge. What she has learned as a student in the United States, allows her to question the validity of these remedies.

Game

Freeze Tag

Main Piece:

The Participant/Interviewee is marked as MG. I am marked as LJ.

MG: If we got to be outside, we played freeze tag. Which would take verrrryy long. And it would be fun, we would be sweating.

LJ: What were the rules?

MG:The rules would be, you count to 20, and then you run. There’s one person who tags the rest. So that person counts to 20 and then everyone else runs around, usually in the backyard or wherever you are. So if that person tags you, you have to freeze. And the only way to get untagged is for another runner to come tag you. And that’s it.

LJ: Who taught you?

MG: Mmmm…maybe my cousins. Um, they might have learned…since they were a bit older. Everyone was older, except my girl cousin.

Context:

Participant and I were walking at night on the way to an event. This conversation was recorded then.

Background:

The participant is a second year student at the University of Southern California. She was raised in Santa Ana, California in a Mexican/Catholic background.

Analysis:

This game is played by a lot of American children. I remember playing it, as well. Like many other childhood games, it seems that the different “generations” of kids taught each other. MG describes how her older cousins taught her, and that they probably learned it from someone else. These games help children bond and may serve as a way for them to learn social skills without the punishment that may come from interactions with adults/as adults.

 

Myths

Genesis/Christian Story

Main Piece:

The following was recorded from Participant/interviewee. She is marked as MJ. I am marked as LJ.

MG: So on the first day….God created land. Second day, I think he…separated waters. Anyways! On everyday he did something different–the celesital stars, animals…On the sixth day, he created humans and the seventh he rested. I just know the story of that…and um..and the story that one day he noticed that Adam was alone…he was just surrounded by animals, here and there. So he just said “I’ll make him a companion.” While he was sleeping, he used a bone…or..he used something from Adam to create Eve. Hence we have Adam and Eve.

And then it was Eve who was tempted by a snake. Serpent I think–either, or. And so, God had told both Adam and Eve, “you can eat from any tree in this garden, from any! Just do not eat from this one.” And the pointed at–well I don’t know if he actually pointed. Hahaha. But he made obvious a certain tree. An apple that you were not supposed to eat from. And so one day, Eve was tempted by a snake to eat from the apple, I mean tree. Eve said “no, God told us not to.” And then he said, “you should. God just doesn’t want you to be as great as him. He doesn’t want you to know as much.” And so she was tempted, and so she ate from the apple. She then turned to Adam, who also ate from the apple. And together they were….they were punished, kindof’. And hence God said, woman will cry at birth, your eyes will be open. And then that’s when they started hiding, because they had been naked this whole time, but thye hadn’t noticed. And so eating from the Tree of Wisdom opened their eyes and nothing was ever the same.

LJ: How did you first learn about it?

MG: Um, from my first communion classes. That was the story they told us. Oh that’s not true. I had heard about it from my parents, I think. My parents were involved in a religious group. And that’s when I started reading the bible. But the story has always been re-iterated in the same manner.

 

Context:

Participant and I were walking at night on the way to an event. This conversation was recorded then.

Background:

The participant is a second year student at the University of Southern California. She was raised in Santa Ana, California in a Mexican/Catholic background.

Analysis:

This is the common Genesis/Adam and Eve story that most Americans know. It was discussed in the Myths section of the the class Forms of Folklore with Professor Tok Thompson. It does not have the formal speech found in the actual bible and in other versions (see below), however, it is very familiar. The apple and snake (which are not mentioned in the bible, but are here) are examples of how folklore shifts between the authored and non-authored spheres.

The participant internalized this information at a very young age, having grown up in a religious household and because her parents were actively involved in the Church. It would be interesting to compare her recount of the story with someone who was not raised Catholic or with someone who is non-religious (i.e Atheist).

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