Fuma Marihuana Song
La Cucaracha ("The Cockroach") is a popular Mexican folk song about a cockroach who cannot walk. The song's origins are unclear, but it dates back at least to the 1910s during the Mexican Revolution. The song belongs to the Mexican corrido genre. The song's melody is widely known and there are many alternative stanzas.
Fuma Marihuana Song
The song's earliest lyrics, from which its name is derived, concern a cockroach that has lost one of its six legs and struggles to walk with the remaining five. The cockroach's uneven, five-legged gait is imitated by the song's original, 5/4 meter, formed by removing one upbeat (corresponding to the missing sixth leg) from the second half of a 6/4 measure:
Many later versions of the song, especially those whose lyrics do not mention the cockroach's missing leg(s), extend the last syllable of each line to fit the more familiar 6/4 meter. Almost all modern versions, however, use a 4/4 meter instead with a clave rhythm to give the feeling of three pulses.
The song's verses fit a traditional melody separate from that of the refrain but sharing the refrain's meter (either 5/4, 6/4, or 4/4 clave as discussed above). In other respects, they are highly variable, usually providing satirical commentary on contemporary political or social problems or disputes.
One of the earliest written references to the song appears in Mexican writer and political journalist José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi's 1819 novel La Quijotita y su Prima, where it is suggested that:
During the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century, "La Cucaracha" saw the first major period of verse production as rebel and government forces alike invented political lyrics for the song. Many stanzas were added during this period that today it is associated mostly with Mexico.
The Mexican Revolution, from 1910 to about 1920, was a period of great political upheaval during which the majority of the stanzas known today were written. Political symbolism was a common theme in these verses, and explicit and implicit references were made to events of the war, major political figures, and the effects of the war on the civilians in general. Today, few pre-Revolution verses are known, and the most commonly quoted portion of the song are the two Villist anti-Huerta stanzas:
This version, popular among Villist soldiers, contains hidden political meanings, as is common for revolutionary songs. In this version, the cockroach represents President Victoriano Huerta, a notorious drunk who was considered a villain and traitor due to his part in the death of revolutionary President Francisco Madero.
Apart from verses making explicit or implicit reference to historical events, hundreds of other verses exist. Some verses are new, and others are ancient; however, the lack of references and the largely oral tradition of the song makes dating these verses difficult, if not impossible. Examples follow: 041b061a72