Cielito Lindo

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For other uses of "Cielito Lindo", see Cielito Lindo (disambiguation).

"Cielito lindo" is a popular Mexican song from a Spanish copla, popularized in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés (c. 1859–1957).[1] It is roughly translated as "Lovely Sweet One". Although the word "cielo" means sky or heaven, it is also a term of endearment comparable to sweetheart or honey. "Cielito", the diminutive, can be translated as "sweetie"; "lindo" means cute, lovely or pretty. Sometimes the song is known by words from the refrain, "Canta y no llores" or simply the "Ay, Yai, Yai, Yai" song.

Commonly played by mariachi bands, it has been recorded by many artists in the original Spanish as well as in English and other languages. Even though the song talks about the "Sierra Morena", a mountain range in the south region of Spain, in recent decades it has come to be widely known as a theme song for Mexico, based in the Spanish background of the country, particularly at international events, like the FIFA World Cup.


The scheme corresponds to the Spain Castilian classical stanza known as "seguidilla," i.e. seven lines of alternating heptasyllabic and pentasyllabic verses. Lyrics vary widely from performer to performer and every singer is free to add some new verse to his or her own interpretation. Some of the most traditional lyrics are the following:

Spanish Literal English translation

De la Sierra Morena,
cielito lindo, vienen bajando,
Un par de ojitos negros,
cielito lindo, de contrabando.


Ay, ay, ay, ay,
Canta y no llores,
Porque cantando se alegran,
cielito lindo, los corazones.

Pájaro que abandona,
cielito lindo, su primer nido,
Si lo encuentra ocupado,
cielito lindo, bien merecido.


Ese lunar que tienes,
cielito lindo, junto a la boca,
No se lo des a nadie,
cielito lindo, que a mí me toca.


Una flecha en el aire,
cielito lindo, lanzó Cupido,
si la tiró jugando,
cielito lindo, a mí me ha herido.


From the Sierra Morena,
Pretty darling, they come down,
a pair of black eyes,
Pretty little heaven, which are contraband.


Ay, yai, yai, yai,
sing and don't cry,
because singing gladdens,
Pretty little heaven, the hearts.

Bird that abandons,
pretty darling, his first nest,
if he finds it occupied,
Pretty little heaven, is well deserved.


That mole you have
pretty darling, next to your mouth,
don't give it to anyone,
Pretty little heaven, for it belongs to me.


An arrow in the air
pretty sweetheart, Cupid launched
playing he shot it towards me,
Pretty little heaven, and I've been wounded.


In the article "¡Hasta que me cayó el veinte!"[2] Ortega discusses the origins of the first verse of this song. His research discovered that in the early 17th century, armed bandits would take refuge in the Sierra Morena mountains of Spain and that people feared for their lives when they had to travel through the region. The words of the first verse of "Cielito Lindo" were found in a song from that era, hinting at that fear. But with time the meaning of the verse changed as people began romanticizing it. "Your face is the Sierra Morena. Your eyes are thieves who live there." The verse had other melodies put to it and variations on the lyrics. Mr. Quirino Mendoza, the composer, adapted the verse to his own melody and gave us the song we know today.


The song has been subject to many versions:

Cielito lindo huasteco[edit]

"Cielito Lindo" should not be confused with another popular and traditional song called "Cielito lindo huasteco" also known as "Cielito lindo" from La Huasteca in Mexico. This song distinctly different from the common version above has been played by many Conjunto huastecos, as it is considered one of the most popular Son Huasteco or Huapango songs.

Sometimes mariachi bands perform both versions of the "Cielito Lindo" and "Cielito lindo huasteco" which are completely different, thus creating some confusion about both.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biografía de Quirino Mendoza y Cortés" (in Spanish). Mexico: Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de México (SACM). Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  2. ^ Arturo Ortega Morán, ¡Hasta que me cayó el veinte!: Cielito lindo, El Porvenir, 30 October 2005
  3. ^ "Top Grammy Winners". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). 22 February 1990. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 

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