Song Lyrics

The Tenth World

by Joni Mitchell

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Wally Kairuz: Here's what I hear and its English translation. I think somebody from the northern sections of South America or even the Caribbean could do a better job than I because the variety of Spanish that I use is extremely different form the one spoken by the people on DJRD.

Baila mi rumba
Bátela, goza y mira mamá
Baila, mira mamá
Bátela, goza, mira eh
Rumbando bello es que yo voy
Bailala bailala bailala
Bailala baila baila
Eh eh mamá
Baila baila my rumbo[?]
Ele eh ele eh
Bailala bailala baila
Din din baragadín dan dan [this is onomatopoeia]
Baila baila baila baila
Venezolano en Nueva York
En California y en todos lados
Te la traigo
Para que vos...para que gozes gozes cosa buena
Gozes con todo el mundo
El africano y todo el mundo
Izquierdo! Izquierdo! Vamos, oye!
[onomatopoeic sounds, interjections, sighs, whistling, bits of dialogue among the musicians that sound like instructions or encouragement to keep on playing and dancing]
Me voy
Me voy
Me voy
Me voy
Me voy
Me voy
Me voy
Me voy
[More chanting and onomatopoeia]

Dance to my rumba
Beat it [maybe a drum?], enjoy, look mama [maybe meaning "look at me and learn the steps."]
Dance, look mama
Beat it, enjoy, look
Dancing the rumba beautifully. That's how I go.
Hey hey mama
Dance to it, dance
Dance this way [This a tentative translation, the expression I hear is actually unidiomatic]
Dance to it, dance
A Venezuelan in New York [maybe referring to himself]
In California and everywhere
I bring it to you [the rumba]
So that you will enjoy a good thing
Enjoy it with the rest of the world
With the African and the rest of the world
Dance to it
Gringos! [This is funny. "Gringo" is a pejorative way that some South Americans have to refer to Anglo-Saxons. It's clear that some Americans are actually dancing to the music in the studio and receiving instructions from the singer, including this veiled semi-insult. Was Joni there too?]
Left! Left! [maybe meaning use your left foot now]
I say, Come on!
I'm going now! [Or it could also be I'm "coming"!]

© 1976; Crazy Crow Music


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I first heard this song at Antioch College in our Zebra Drum House. Chuck Smart brought in the album and said, "Listen to the surdo. It's played by Airto." He was refering to The Tenth World and Dreamland. This album is now enjoyed by my son who also loves jazz and percussion. I play this song for Joni's soaring vocals and Chaka's interplay.