Lesson 1: Learning “El Pescador”
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Aim: What are the basic elements of a cumbia song?
Summary: Students learn to sing “El Pescador” and learn the instruments and basic rhythms of cumbia.
Materials: Musical Explorers digital resources, Musical Explorers Student Guide, classroom instruments, found objects
Standards: National 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11
Vocabulary: accordion, alegre, gaita, llamador, maraca, tambora
Va subiendo la corriente
Con chinchorro y atarraya
La canoa de bahareque
Para llegar a la playa
Habla con la luna
Habla con la playa
No tiene fortuna
Sólo su atarraya.
Regresan los Pescadores
Con su carga pa’ vender
Al puerto de sus amores
Donde tiene su querer.
The current is rising
With hammock and fishing net
The bahareque* canoe
In order to get to the beach
Talks with the moon
Talks with the beach
Has no fortune
Only his fishing net.
The fishermen come back
With their catch to sell
To their beloved port
Where they hold their lovers.
*This refers most likely to a type of construction on top of the canoe.
Exploring Colombian Instruments
With Colombian Instruments (PDF), your students will learn about the instruments used to play traditional cumbia. Three percussion instruments—two drums and a maraca—lay down the signature rhythm while a third drum improvises. An accordion and a flute or whistle made from a hollowed-out cactus stem called a gaita add harmony and melody. Use Tracks 10–14 to listen to examples of the instruments.
Imagine “El Pescador”
- The lyrics in many cumbia songs are poetic and evocative. The chorus to “El Pescador” is one such example. Using Imagine “El Pescador” (PDF), your students can imagine the fishermen, their life on the sea, and their relationship with the natural world.
- Read the lyrics to the chorus aloud.
- What did you learn about the fisherman?
- What kinds of words are used to help you picture him?
- What do you think it’s like to be a fisherman?
- Draw a picture of the scene in the chorus.
Musical Word Wall
Add the words accordion, alegre, gaita, llamador, maraca, and tambora to the Musical Word Wall.