Cielito Lindo is the song for your loved ones! Literally translating to “Lovely Sweet One,” the song is an ode to your beloved and other loved ones. If you have ever wanted to serenade someone, this is the perfect tune to sing along to! Maybe you’ve even unknowingly belted along to its “Ay, ay, ay, ay” choruses.
Mariachi bands most commonly sing this popular Mexican song about a woman with lovely eyes. It is famous amongst expatriate communities worldwide and is widely played for Mexicans that visit international events like the Olympics or FIFA world cup.
But did you know lovers worldwide have used Cielito Lindo since the 19th century? Yes, this romantic song is that old! Read on to learn more about its long history of origin!
But first, if you want to woo your lady, you’ll have to get the lyrics right. Here’s how it goes:
Down from the Sierra Morena mountains,
Pretty little darling, they come,
A pair of black eyes,
Pretty little darling, they’re contraband!
Oh, oh, oh, oh,
Sing and do not cry
Because singing cheers up,
Pretty little darling, our hearts.
That mole that you have,
Pretty little darling, near the mouth,
Don’t give it to anyone,
Pretty little darling, it’s for me to play with.
The bird that leaves,
Pretty little darling, its first nest,
Comes back and finds it occupied
Pretty little darling, that’s what it deserves.
An arrow in the air,
Pretty little darling, launched by Cupid
As he was playing,
Pretty little darling, I was the wounded one.
From your house to mine,
Pretty little darling, there is no more than one step,
Before your mother comes,
Pretty little darling, give me a hug.
Download the lyrics to this amazing song for your room. Find your copy here.
Tune into this song and make your vocals sound melodious. Watch the video below:
Origins and history
Even if you aren’t from Mexico, you must’ve heard Cielito Lindo at least once in your life. But do you know what “Sierra Morena” implies and why is “contraband” used for her eyes?
The song originated in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés. Legends say that this famous song was inspired by a 17th-century story of Sierra Morena, a bandit-infested mountain range in southern Spain. Mendoza was said to have heard a legend about a Cielito Lindo (“lovely sweet one”) who was rescued out of the grasp of these bandits and smuggled to someplace safe. This is where the term “contraband” comes from.
Set in the 17th century, these armed bandits used to haunt the hills and strike fear in the minds of people who lived in the foothills. The song’s first verse originated from existing music of that era. Sierra Morena implied fear then, but through the years and changes in variations, it has been romanticized.
The story further defines the woman as having a lunar (a mole) placed near her mouth. Mendoza made sure to pen down this blemish in his lyrics – Ese lunar que tienes (“That mole you have”). The composer or the author even says, “Don’t give it to anyone…it belongs to me,” while referring to the mole.
Cielito Lindo is a Spanish word whose literary translation is roughly “beautiful little sky” or “beautiful little heaven.” However, since Cielito also means sweetie or darling, Cielito Lindo is commonly understood as “Lovely Sweet One” or “Pretty Little Darling.”
Cielito Lindo was written by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés (c. 1859–1957), a famous Mexican composer and lyricist, in 1882.
The song Cielito Lindo originated from Mexico and was written in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés.