El Que Siembra Su Maíz — Español-English

“El Que Siembra Su Maíz” is a Cuban country-troubadour (trova) song from 1925, composed by Miguel Matamoros, and first recorded by the Trio Matamoros. It was a hit, and remains a perennial classic. For much more about Trio Matamoros, see https://manuelgarciajr.com/2015/10/04/trio-matamoros-old-and-new/

The chorus of this song: “el que siembra su maíz, que se coma su pinol,” might have a very rough Old English equivalent of “the man who plants his corn gets to sit and drink his mead,” or a very rough Tennessee equivalent of “the man who plants his corn gets to sit and drink his bourbon,” since bourbon is a corn-mash alcoholic beverage.

Pinol: maíz molido con azúcar y un poquito de canela.
Pinol: corn, ground with sugar and a little bit of cinnamon.

Pinol, in:
1. Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua: toasted corn flour.
2. Costa Rico and Nicaragua: “pinolillo” is pinol with cacao (chocolate).
3. Ecuador and Guatemala: sweetened corn flour.
4. Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru: pinol as “máchica,” flour made from ground toasted barley or other toasted grains.

“Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcoholic content ranges from about 8% to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey. It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead

With all their sugar cane, I find it impossible to imagine the Cubans not having had a mead-like equivalent made from pinol and rum, or pinol and fermented guarapo (sugar cane juice).

Pinol would certainly be used to make all the cornbread, corn cakes, hushpuppy and corn mush equivalents familiar to Americans from their southern states. Now, to the song.

El que siembra su maíz
[Miguel Matamoros, 1925]

Huye, huye
dónde está Mayor?
dónde está?

Ya no vende por las calles
ya no pregona en la esquina
ya no quiere trabajar.

Huye, huye
dónde está Mayor?
dónde está?

Ya no vende por las calles
ya no pregona en la esquina
ya no quiere trabajar

El que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)

La mujer en el amor (¡sí señor!)
se parece a la gallina (¡como no!)
la mujer en el amor (¡sí señor!)
se parece a la gallina (¡como no!)
que cuando se muere el gallo (¡sí señor!)
a cualquier pollo se arrima (¡como no!)

El que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)

Muchacha, dice tu abuela (¡sí señor!)
que te mete en la cocina (¡como no!)
muchacha, dice tu abuela (¡sí señor!)
que te mete en la cocina (¡como no!)
que el que tiene gasolina (¡sí señor!)
no ha de jugar con candela (¡como no!)

El que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)

No te parece Rufina (¡sí señor!)
mirar en el farallón, (¡como no!)
no te parece Rufina (¡sí señor!)
mirar en el farallón, (¡como no!) (1)
ni ver redundar el trombón (¡sí señor!)
hasta que se desafina (¡como no!)

El que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)
el que siembra su maíz
(que se coma su pinol)…
(El) que siembra su maíz…

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The One Who Plants Her Corn
[Miguel Matamoros, 1925; translation-paraphrase by Manuel García, Jr.]

Gone now, gone now
Where has Mayór gone?
Where’s she gone?

She’s not selling in the streets now,
she’s not hawking at the corner,
she no longer wants to work.

Gone now, gone now
Where has Mayór gone?
Where’s she gone?

She’s not selling in the streets now,
she’s not hawking at the corner,
she no longer wants to work.

The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
the one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).

A woman who’s in love (oh yeah!)
is just like a barnyard chicken (you bet!)
a woman who’s in love (oh yeah!)
is just like a barnyard chicken (you bet!)
when old red rooster croaks (oh yeah!)
next to any old hen she’s nuzzlin’ (you bet!).

The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
the one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).

Honey, your grandma says (oh yeah!)
get yourself into the kitchen (you bet!)
honey, your grandma says (oh yeah!)
get yourself into the kitchen (you bet!)
for who lugs cans of gasoline ‘round (oh yeah!)
shouldn’t play at flaming things now (you bet!).

The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
the one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).

Don’t even try, Rufína (oh yeah!)
staring in the lighthouse beam (you bet!)
Don’t even try, Rufína (oh yeah!)
staring in the lighthouse beam (you bet!) (1)
Nor look in the trombone’s bell (oh yeah!)
until it shakes itself off key (you bet!).

The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
the one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol)
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).
The one who plants her corn
(gets to eat up her pinol).
The one who pants her corn…

(1) farallón = cliff, farol = lantern, faro = lighthouse. I chose to use the lighthouse image (faro -> lighthouse) instead of using the cliff image (farallón -> cliff, Matamoros’ actual word), because I thought it more vivid, for my English version, as something fatiguing to stare uselessly into.

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A much looser variation of the lyrics, in American English, is as follows.

The Girl Who Plants Her Corn
[a paraphrase of El Que Siembra Su Maíz, in American English, by MG,Jr.]

Gone now, gone now
Margie’s cart is gone.
Where’s she gone?

She’s not selling in the streets now,
she’s not hawking at the corner,
she no longer wants to work.

Gone now, gone now
Margie’s cart is gone.
Where’s she gone?

She’s not selling in the streets now,
she’s not hawking at the corner,
she no longer wants to work.

The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
the one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits).

A woman who’s in love (oh yeah!)
is just like a barnyard chicken (you bet!)
a woman who’s in love (oh yeah!)
is just like a barnyard chicken (you bet!)
when old red rooster croaks (oh yeah!)
nuzzled up to any ol’ hen she’s sticking (you bet!).

The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits).

Honey, your grandma says (oh yeah!)
get yourself into the kitchen (you bet!)
Honey, your grandma says (oh yeah!)
get yourself into the kitchen (you bet!)
for who lugs gasoline up ’n down (oh yeah!)
with flames shouldn’t be playin’ around (you bet!)

The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits).

Don’t even try, Rufeena (oh yeah!)
staring through a cliff to see (you bet!)
Don’t even try, Rufeena (oh yeah!)
staring through a cliff to see (you bet!)
Nor in the trombone’s bell (oh yeah!)
till it shakes itself off key (you bet!).

The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits)
The one who plants her corn
(drinks her bourbon eats her grits).
The one – who – plants – her – c-o-r-n…

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El Que Siembra Su Maíz
[Trio Matamoros, with (I think) Los Guaracheros de Oriente (my favorites). Matamoros sings.]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV5QRjmfqcI

Trio Matamoros – El que siembra su maíz
(2nd original recording – unequaled)
[2:55]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVU5ThBYe5w

Trio Matamoros – El que siembra su maíz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7on8TFN0Hxs
[1931, from collector’s CD, 1st original recording]

El que siembra su maiz (el montuno) – Oscar D´Leon, Hector Lavoe y Lalo Rodriguez
(Tres grandes de la salsa juntos en una presentación en New York para que lo disfruten; el audio no es muy bueno pero igual se goza)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TmcVMvfv9M
[Salsa jam (1982) on “El Que Siembra Su Maíz” (the montuno part, 11 minutes out of 15) by Miguel Matamoros (Cubano), who wrote the orignal song in 1925! Héctor Lavoe (Puerto Rico), Oscar D’Leon (Venezuela), Lalo Rodríguez (Puerto Rico) sing.]

El que siembra su maíz — Trio Matamoros
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wi-XnsQWso
[Trio Matamors, old, rough and beautiful; just themselves live and free.]

El que siembra su maíz — Los Guaracheros de Oriente
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pImyQwLZ16s
[such crisp and polished performers]

El que siembra su maíz — Gema 4 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfVDEAOOKco
[female a cappella quartet]

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