A Pescar Camaron (arr. Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory)

By: Caldwell, Paul; Ivory, Sean;

Sung By: Matthew Curtis

Runtime: 4 minutes

Publisher: Earthsongs

Publisher#: 00126813

Language: English

Instrumentation: Acappella

This lively Cuban folksong is a fusion of the music of the Spanish farmers with the enslaved Africans brought to the island. The song is a light-hearted song about fishing for shrimp, from the "son" style of Cuban music that is the traditional root of well-known Afro-Cuban dance styles. Includes English translation and percussion.

A Pescar Camaron is a folksong from Cuba. The original form is Son, the rural root of many well-known Afro-Cuban dance styles. It represents a fusion of the music of Spanish farmers with that of African slaves. In the old days (1800’s), son would have been accompanied by tres (a smaller relative of the Spanish guitar) and a small percussion ensemble (bongos, maracas, guiro, and clave).
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Conjuntu ensembles expanded the Son to create Son Montuno. It was characterized by more elaborate arrangements, a larger instrumental ensemble (especially percussion), and open sections for instrumental improvisation.
A Pescar Camaron is a miniature Son Montuno for treble chorus. We have reduced the size of the percussion ensemble, however, to prevent obscuring the choir. We have notated percussion parts which can be performed by members of the choral ensemble. An optimal performance, however, will utilize a professional conga player…who should ignore the notated conga part and simply improvise. In this case, the notated conga part will be omitted altogether. The guiro and clave, however, should still be used as indicated in the score.
There are some text issues which beg explanation. There are words which are misspelled because 1) this is how they were given to us by an authentic practioner, and 2) they reflect a rural pronunciation. Examples are vamo (which would technically be vamos), Cuano (Cubano), and pa’ (para).
We are deeply indebted to Katherine Slotsema, Francisco Nuñez, and Dr. Marian Dolan for assistance in the preparation of this score.
Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory
August 1, 2007
Pescar camaron.
Fishing for shrimp.
“Cubiche, que este Cubiche,” me dice un Americano.

Hey, little Cuban,” an American said to me.
¿Qué es esta canción que cantas? ¿Y qué sentido tiene ella? Dime, dime, ¿qué significa?
What is this song you sing? And what does it mean? Tell me, tell me, what does it mean?
Que vamo al rio a pescar camaron,
Let’s go to the river to fish for shrimp,
Que rio arriba a pescar camaron.
The river above to fish for shrimp.
Que vamo al rio a pescar camaron,
Let’s go to the river to fish for shrimp,
Que rio abajo a pescar camaron.
The river down below to catch shrimp.
Vamo al rio a pescar camaron.
Let’s go to the river to fish for shrimp.
Pues, es una canción pa’ cantar, no más,
h, it is just a song to sing, nothing more,
Una canción pa’ pescar.
A song for fishing.
Y cuando la canto,
And when I sing it,
Me da alegría.
It makes me happy.

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