Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Daymé Arocena - "La Rumba Me Llamo Yo" (English translation & Some Lyric Explanations)

HavanaCultura, Published on Apr 19, 2017
Statistics for this video as of Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM ET
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Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases the official YouTube video "La Rumba Me Llamo Yo" as performed by Cuban singer Daymé Arocena

This post presents an English translation for this song which is sung in Spanish. Some explanations in English for some of these lyrics are also included in this post.  

This content is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owner.

Thanks to Daymé Arocena for her musical legacy. Thanks to the producer of this video and all those who are featured in this video and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publisher of this video on YouTube.
Click for the June 2019 pancocojams post entitled "Cuban Singer Daymé Arocena - "La Rumba Me Llamo Yo" (video & comments)." That post includes biographical information about Daymé Arocena that is found in the summary of that video and selected comments from that YouTube video's  discussion thread.


[Scat singing]

My mother says that black is gifted
That he approaches me for shadow
And that he does not love my side
That I am a daughter of luck
That mine is natural
That I do not share my glory
Pa that don't love me wrong

My mother says, your ocha is not babalawo
But if you were a man, drummer you were consecrated
Moyugba Eggun, who does not let you fall
That goes to war with you so that I can win

Says my mother will be fine and thin
But the conga With you, Dancing you pal bembe
That gives you laughter, and a tumbao that tumbles
And that is why the dead are going to pull you to the rumba


I'm Iya, I'm Bongo, the rumba is my name
The rumba is my name, the rumba is my name I
am Iya, I am Bongo, the rumba is my name


[Scatting] (x5)

I'm Iya, I'm Bongo, the rumba is my name… (x5)


What do you want 'to be given?
Rumba, come come,
what do you want to do?

What do you want them to give you?
Rumba, come come,
what do you want 'to be given?
Rumba, come come

(Tell me what you want them to give you?)

What do you want them to give you?
Rumba, come come…


Click for the original Spanish lyrics for this song. 

…“Ocha = Ocha (Kariocha, making Santo): The initiation of a new priest or priestess where his/her tutelary Orisha is put on his/her head (crown) during a seven-day ceremony. The newly initiated priest/priestess then enters their Iyaworaje, their year and 7 days of purification, rejuvenation, transformation and learning.
Here's information about the word "orisha" from
"In the native religion of the Yoruba people, Orisha (spelled òrìṣà in the Yoruba language, orichá in Cuban practice and orixá in Brazilian practice of Latin America) are spirits sent by Olodumare[1] for the guidance of all creation and of humanity in particular, on how to live and be successful on Àiyé (Earth). Most Òrìṣà are said to have previously existed in the spirit world (òrún) as Irúnmọlẹ̀, and then become incarnated as human beings here on Earth. Others are said to be humans who are recognised as deities upon their death due to extraordinary feats accomplished in life.[2]

Many Òrìṣà have found their way to most of the New World as a result of the Atlantic slave trade and are now expressed in practices as varied as Santería, Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, Umbanda, and Oyotunji, among others. The concept of orisha is similar to those of deities in the traditional religions of the Bini people of Edo State in southern Nigeria, the Ewe people of Benin, Ghana, and Togo, and the Fon people of Benin.[2][3]”…

"Babaaláwo or Babalawo (Babalao or Babalaô in West Africa; literally meaning 'father of the mysteries' in the Yoruba language) is a spiritual title that denotes a priest of the Ifá oracle. Ifá is a divination system that represents the teachings of the Òrìṣà Ọrunmila, the Òrìṣà of Wisdom, who in turn serves as the oracular representative of Olodumare. A Babalawo's female counterpart is known as an or Ìyánífá

MO'JUBA (given as "Moyugba Eggun" in that song)

..."The Mo'juba is a ancestral prayer that santeros/as use to called the spirit, material and ancestral spirit into being . This allows the Ase ( spoken power) to manifest into the material world as a guide and tool for any given ceremony. The main thing about the Mojuba is that it come from the heart of the person speaking it"...


Mojuba eggun-gun ile e eleri e mi ( Reverence to the spirits of my house and of my head)”…

…"Egun are the spirits of departed ancestors, whether related by blood or by religious lineage. Honoring one's ancestors can be viewed in simple or in complex, metaphysical terms, which we will examine here.

When an individual is born, her soul incarnates, that is, takes on a physical body. This soul comes from a constellation of energy that continuously incarnates within a family line. This is a very broad concept, because all family lines eventually return to one people. However, it is commonly believed that familiar energies tend to stay together, which is why we bear the traits of our recent ancestors. While the soul is here, it gathers wisdom and knowledge through its experiences on this plane. When the individual dies, the spirit dis-incarnates and returns to that constellation of energies, the cull of souls, if you will, to await reincarnation.”…

"Ìyá Nlá is the primordial spirit of all creation in Yoruba cosmology. She is believed to be the source of all existence. Iya Nla literally means “Great Mother” in the Yoruba language (Ìyá: Mother; Nlá: Big or Great).”...

In The Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ Spectacle: Art, Gender, and Social Harmony in an African Culture, art historian Babatunde Lawal reveals that Ìyá Nlá in Yoruba cosmology is the orisha who is the “Mother of All Things, including the deities.”[1] Lawal also asserts that the female principle in nature has been personified as Ìyá Nlá (The Great Mother), whereby human beings can relate to one another as children of the same mother.”[2] Teresa N. Washington’s Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Àjẹ́ in Africana Literature, states that Ìyá Nlá — the Mother of All, who is also known as Yewájọbí, Odù, Odùduwà, and Àjẹ́ — is not merely an orisha; Ìyá Nlá is the primordial force of all creation.[3]"

I'm not sure what the word "Bongo" means in this song. Since "Iya" means "Mother of  all", my guess is that in the context of the line "I'm Iya, I'm Bongo, the rumba is my name", "Bongo" means Father of all".

I don't know what "Imboro" means in this song.

Additions and corrections are very welcome.

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