Coplas of El Yopo (Coplas de El Yopo)

Author:
Unknown. Traditional Venezuelan song. Popularised in Chile by Isabel and Ángel Parra
Testimony by:
Carlos Muñoz
Place & date:

A comrade whose last name was Saavedra (if I recall correctly) sung this song passionately. This song earned him the nickname of ‘El Yopo’ (also ‘chopo’), as is usual in popular culture. The tune was well-known in Chile, as sung by Ángel and Isabel Parra, who called it "Décimas del folklore venezolano" or "Coplas Venezolanas". It was one of the most popular songs in prison and was performed at many of our musical events. It was also sung at Ritoque and Puchuncaví.


Published on: 09 July 2015


In the sea, the seashell says:
I keep a wealth
a beautiful dress
with a natural gloss.

I am worthier than the coral,
the diamond and the ruby
I won’t swap with you
because I am valued anywhere
and in foreign lands
all appreciate me.

They say there was, there wasn’t anything
I’m off to El Yopo at dawn,
at dawn I’m off to El Yopo
because the guayabo* turns me mad.

You, you, you ordered it
And if you order it, you pay
And if you don’t, you pay as well.

The ark clam complains
and so does the snail
For us there’s no pain
so says the mussel
and the potato to the queen
tells her past history.

Such a wretched life
God to cast us out in the world
into these deep seas
where we are worth nothing.

They say there was, there wasn’t anything
I’m off to El Yopo at dawn,
at dawn I’m off to El Yopo
because the blues turns me mad.

You, you, you ordered it placed
And if you place it, you pay
And if you don’t, you pay as well.

My three dear brothers
Were swept by the tide
says a child in sorrow
what a painful case.

We march together
to swim without fear
the river came with its fury
and swiftly took them away
when they disappeared
my pain could not be described.

They say there was, there wasn’t
I’m off to El Yopo at dawn,
at dawn I’m off to El Yopo
because the blues turns me mad.

You, you, you ordered it placed
And if you place it, you pay
And if you don’t, you pay as well.