Mandinga (aka Bilongo)

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by Salsa Bear, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    Wow, thanks for all the information; and this is your first post!

    I love your reference to the voodoo king; I recently started researching another of my favorite songs - Maria Lionza - and am utterly intrigued. I'd love to visit la montana de Sorte por Yaracuy en Venezuela one day; it sounds like a cross between Woodstock and Carnival. ;)

    Somehow, the references to voodoo further led me to a reference to "Satan laughing with delight" in Don McClean's song "American Pie," which chronicles "The Day the Music Died." I never even knew the plane crash that inspired that song killed one of America's foremost Latin musicians.

    Of course, Ritchie Valens' most famous song is "La Bamba," and one of my favorite Andean music songs has the same title. I find all the connections intriguing.

    Unfortunately, I'm overwhelmed with work during the holiday season, so I may not be able to finish this article until after Christmas.

    Muchas gracias.
    Cami-swago likes this.
  2. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    Thanks for all the information. I just put it all together in an article about the song at

    Interesting song; it has three different names, and I just happened to choose the LEAST popular name for the title of this thread. ;)
  3. tresero

    tresero Changui

    Meneao, and it's derivatives, was common in the 30's and 40's when there was much censorship of "black" music. I was talking to Richard Egües about this many years ago and he mentioned that the police would come to clubs and listen for bad things, like mentioning things like "hips," thus the word meneíto came about as a sort of slang for a chick who could move that booty.
    They couldn't overtly sing about butts, or hips. Many of the songs from around the 20's to the 60's had similar double meanings, which is why even a song like El Cuarto de Tula has several different interpretations (Which by the way, Celina never said was meant to be about a "hot" woman - she lived up the street from my house in Buena Vista, so I did talk to her many times before she got sick).

    Here is my arrangement of Richard's La Meneito which Richard wrote for me in about 1998 from a seed idea I had about Cuban women on 5th ave (in Cuba, not NY):
  4. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    Weird, I just stumbled over more information about Bilongo in an article titled "The Death of Salsa."

    (The preceding text puts the song in perspective.)

    Looks like an awesome website, though searching for a particular term often brings up links to albums, rather than information.
    Cami-swago likes this.
  5. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Wow! You have just discovered That's where I used to get all my CDs.
    Cami-swago likes this.
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I still do.. but.. they are very slow on delivery.. some good bargains from time to time..

    Tip for Euro buyers.. If you know someone in the States, use their shipping address ,and have them send.. Desc. charge to euro is $18 ( 1-3 Cds ) and sometimes there is free shipping for States side .. if not, you can save at least $8 on regular postage after US rates applied .
  7. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    I've seen the website before, but I never really explored it. Like I said, it's a gold mine of information, but searching for a particular song can be kind of like using Google - it just brings up a list of albums you can buy.
  8. nowhiteshoes

    nowhiteshoes Pattern Police

    I generally buy from prodland or US (but not UK) amazon.
  9. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Where are they based ?
  10. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    There used to be a US and a DE site (Germany for those who don't recognize the abbreviation). Now there is just but it is actually physically located in the US but they charge in Euros. :eek:
  11. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I can't help thinking that someone has missed the idea of how metaphors work here.
  12. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Thanks.. any better than Desc. ?
  13. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Cheaper. Some people have complained about delivery times or about receiving the jewel cases cracked. I use them sometimes. For example I found the Buena Fe dvd there for 7.99 Euro rather than $17 so prices are a little better.
  14. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Thats much better.. the thing that gets me with desc. are their mail charges.. at least $10 more than it actually costs for shipping 3 Cds .
  15. tocatimba

    tocatimba Shine Officer


    Also there are several theories about what exactly "kikiribu Mandiga". I'll just say that I'm a fan of Alejo Carpentier and I doubt there is anything in his book "El Reino de Este Mundo" that has anything to do with this phrase. The word "Mandinga" is a VERY common Spanish/Cuban word that refers to the African tribe. The Haitian rebel Mackandal was from the Mandinga tribe as were thousands of other slaves. He was not known as Le Mandinga or any other such thing. Carpentier writes:

    Ademas, todo mandinga -- era cosa sabida -- ocultaba un cimarrón en potencia. Decir mandinga era decir díscolo, revoltoso, demonio. Por eso los de ese reino se cotizaban tan mal en los mercados de negros.

    (Furthermore, all the Mandinga people, it was known, were potential run away slaves. To say Mandinga, was to say disobedient, rebellious, demonic. For this reason, all those from this tribe were valued so badly in the slave markets.)
  16. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    I like it. I've read that Haiti is the only country in the world that has had a successful slave rebellion.

    The article I wrote about Mandinga/Bilongo is now one of the most popular pages on my website. I wonder how many other really interesting songs there are out there - "El Cantante" and "Maria Lionza" are hard to top.
  17. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    It depends on what you think are interesting lyrics.

    I had to go to youtube to find Maria Lionza since I'd never heard (of) it before. It has a very cumbiado sound to me. I was watching a Rubén Blades version. Don't know if anyone else has done a version of it with a different arrangement.

    So from these three songs it seems that to you "interesting" lyrics have some relation to "indigenous" or "non-European" cultural aspects of the Latin American countries?

    The song that was voted Best Lyrics in the awards was Soy Todo by Los Van Van. The cuerpo is taken from a poem and the stuff from the first coro and beyond was Formell and Mayito. You probably already know it, but for those who don't it is an Afro-Cuban pride type of song (for lack of a better classification system). I was going to post a link to the lyrics but the ones I find all contain errors so I'm working on transcribing it myself.

    EDIT:Found a better link with better lyrics transcription plus picture illustrating what he's singing about

    There are many afro-cuban lyric songs in the Cuban repertoire, many of them going back to the days of son such as Bilongo.

    I also like many of the lyrics by Leonel Limonta since I rarely find good lyrics from a woman's POV. He is one who has a talent for it. But they are just relationship type songs (although Bilongo is as well albeit with Afro-Cuban words thrown in), but very intelligent as opposed to banal, which sadly is often the state of relationship lyrics.
    Cami-swago likes this.
  18. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    Anything other than salsa romantica is a good start. ;)

    I love some salsa romantica songs - at least as far as the music goes, but they lyrics are pretty forgettable. But some love songs make the grade if the lyrics are really poetic, like "Sevillanas de la Vida" (though it isn't salsa).
    Cami-swago likes this.
  19. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez


    Another Van van that has good lyrics in terms of social commentary is Un socio which is about a guy who is looking for a "socio" who has money to invest in a money making scheme. It talks about the ways that people try to make money on the side to make ends meet. The video shows a lot of bits and pieces of typical Havana scenes, including people who raise pigs in their apartment partly to eat themselves but also to sell the meat. I can only imagine the smell.
    Cami-swago likes this.
  20. tocatimba

    tocatimba Shine Officer

    A very polemical song when it came out. I'm not sure but I think it was banned from the radio (as are many songs).

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