Ay, ay ay ay
Cantar no llores
Porque Cantando se alegran,
Ay, ay ay ay
Sing and don’t cry
Because singing, my Beautiful Heaven,
Gladdens the heart
My informant first learned this song as a child, when his father would sing it to him as a lullaby. His father is Mexican and his mother is Caucasian, and he was traditionally raised in the American sense, learning English and not Spanish. In fact, the only Spanish he knows is this Mexican folksong, and he is not able to translate it. He sings this song when he’s bored, to break an awkward silence, and just to be obnoxious. In fact, he once removed the last three lines with “Please leave a mess-age/and I’ll get back to you/as soon as I ca-an” and used the song as his phone’s voicemail message.
While it may seem pointless to recite the folksong considering he does not even know what the lyrics stand for, my informant believes the song is his only link to that part of his heritage, and when he sings it, he feels closer to his dad and that part of his family tree. He believes that it used by others for the very same reason, to connect with the history of their ancestors.
When translated, the song is about how singing will protect your heart from sorrow. In Mexican tradition, Cielito Lindo represents a lovely stranger.