History[change | change source]
No one knows for sure when the song first began to be sung in the Americas. The melody is thought to have been used in North and South America since the 16th century, having been brought over from Spain in the colonial era. However, the version of the lyrics sung today is thought to have been created by a group of Cursillo participants in Majorca, Spain, after one of the earliest Cursillo retreats in the 1940s.
Today, in addition to being used as the unofficial anthem of the United Farm Workers movement, and as an inspirational song in Cursillo workshops, the song is often taught in schools in the United States—from elementary school to community colleges—as an example of a common American folk song. It often appears in collections of children's songs.
Common song words[change | change source]
De colores is usually sung in Spanish, but there are different English translations of the song. The song has also been translated into other languages. The lyrics depict an expression of joy and a celebration of all creation with its many bright colors. Below are four of the most commonly heard verses. Many additional verses (and variations of these verses) are known to exist, some including Christian references and some including more specific to farm life or labor union issues to be used as a rallying-song for farm-laborers.
De colores, de colores
In colors, in colors
References[change | change source]
- Serge Séguin (Feb 23, 2012). "Cursillo Movement FAQ: What is the origin of "De Colores"?". French Speaking Cursillo Movement of Canada. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- Kidd, Allison. "Union Access to Migrant Farmworkers: The Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Cucumber Farmers, and Farmworkers". The Labor Lawyer 20 (3 (Winter/Spring 2005)): 339–361.
- Azcona, Stevan (2008). Movements in Chicano Music: Performing Culture, Performing Politics, 1965-1979 (Ph.D.). University of Texas at Austin. pp. 108–109. ISBN 054973886X.
- Commentary on De Colores by Kathy Murguía and Abby Rivera (PDF) (Media notes). Terry Scott. Farmworker Movement Documentation Project. 2004. p. 6. id.CS1 maint: others (link)
- McGuire, Kenneth. "Common Songs of the Cultural Heritage of the United States: A Compilation of Songs That Most People "Know" and "Should Know"". Journal of Research in Music Education 48 (4 (Winter 2000)): 310–322.
- Lum, Chee-Hoo; Shehan Campbell, Patricia. "The Sonic Surrounds of an Elementary School". Journal of Research in Music Education, 55 (1 (Spring 2007)): 31–47.
- Trapp, Elizabeth. "Break down Inhibitions and Build up Understanding with Music, Music, Music". Hispania 74 (2 (May 1991)): 437–438.