Author Archives: Luz Juarez

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

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

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.

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.

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.