How to play Porompompero

How to play WHAT??? Some of you may be asking… perhaps most of you, but fear not and experience some very traditional Spanish music. Porompompero has a great rumba rhythm that once you start playing and pick up the rhythm, you will find difficult to stop. If you haven´t ever played this style rhythm before then watch the video, again and again to learn it. You will need a very loose wrist but this is fantastic practice for any rhythm guitarist as the skills involved playing this song fluidly will benefit you in all your guitar playing.

Before we delve into how to play Porompompero, first a little about the song. I discovered this song whilst in Spain from a local guitarist who was showing me some songs popular in Spain. Perhaps nowadays not so popular however I was told if you play this anywhere in Spain, the odds are you´ll here people clapping along if not singing. And this was proved to me when we started playing this together in one of the parks when nearby tables started clapping then you´d hear contributions to the chorus.

Composed originally in 1960 by a musician named Juan Solano however the song was most famously performed by Manolo Escobar. Watch the original video below to get a feel for the song and rhythm.

You can see in the video, the guitarist has positioned his Capo on the second fret.

There are very little chords in the song and once known the post-chorus passage can be quickly improvised by rapidly playing the higher notes of the chords.. Ideally you want two guitars so one can keep the same rhythm pattern but when practicing alone you can still mimic the sound.

The words and chords are as follows:

 Am
El trigo entre todas las flores
                    E
ha elegido a la amapola,

y yo elijo a mi Dolores,
                  Am
Dolores, Lolita, Lola.

E Am  E Am                  G
Y yo, y yo elijo a mi Dolores
                                F
que es la , que es la flor más perfumada,
                        E
Doló, Dolores, Lolita, Lola.


          Am                    G
Porompom pón, poropo, porompom pero, peró,
                  F
poropo, porom pompero, peró,
                  E
poropo, porompom pon. (x2)


 Am
A los chicos de mi cara
                    E
les voy a poner un candao

por no ver las cosas raras
                 Am
de este niñato chalao

E   Am  E                      G
por no, por no ver las cosas raras de esé,
                F
de ese niñato chalao que te,
                    E
que te apunta y no dispara. 


          Am
Porompon pón...


 Am
El cateto de tu hermano
                     E
que no me venga con leyes,

es payo y yo soy gitano
                     Am
que llevo sangre de reyes

E   Am     E   Am                   G
que es pa, que es payo y yo soy gitano, que lle,
                     F
que llevo sangre de reyes en la,
                   E
en la palma de la mano. 


          Am
Porompom pón...


 Am
Verde era la hoja,
 E
verde era la parra,

debajo del puente,

retumba,retumba, retumba....


          Am
Porompom pón...

The hardest thing I found with this song is getting the wrists loose and timing right for Rumba rhythm. If you´ve never tried any Spanish or Latin rhythm guitar before, it´s certainly worth looking closer, when a guitar is delivering not just a flow of chords but also a driving rhythmic beat simultaneously, it captivates an audience tremendously.

Here are few videos and techniques that I personally found useful when learning how to play Porompompero.

1. Playing the basic Rumba rhythm. This is an excellent video, it is not 100% the same as Porompompero but it´s excellent for learning this strumming style.

2. A great cover that highlights the correct technique. To skip the introduction and go straight to the rhythm, skip to about 0:42

I sincerely hope this post encourages someone to learn to play this wonderful little tune.. if you do please comment and let us know.

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