Sunday, August 14, 2011

Venezuelan Birthday Song - Ay Que Noche Tan Preciosa

UPDATE: Sadly, Luis Cruz, the creator of Venezuela's unique Happy Birthday song "Ay Que Noche Tan Preciosa" died in Cabudare, Lara State, on 21 April 2012 aged 82. As long as Venezuelans continue to celebrate birthdays he will never be forgotten.

Venezuelans love socializing and there's no better excuse for hearty partying than a birthday celebration.

Birthdays are celebrated in the office with workmates, at a bar or restaurant, on the beach under a palm tree, or with friends and family at home, but always with a cake and a special birthday song that is unique to the country.

This song is generally known simply as "Cumpleaños Feliz" ("Happy Birthday to You") or by its first line "Ay Que Noche Tan Preciosa" ("Oh What a Beautiful Night").

It dates back to 1953 when a Venezuelan composer called Luis Cruz from Los Chorros in Caracas wanted to impress a girlfriend called Rebeca and penned the words of the song for her birthday.

Cruz continued to play the song as a cha-cha-cha with his trio Los Latinos, and it was even recorded by a few artists, although without great success.

All that changed in 1964 when Venezuelan singer Emilio Arvelo, originally from El Recreo, included it on an album of boleros and the song became a massive hit across Latin America.

Now living in Mamporal in Miranda State and 76 years old, Arvelo recalled in an interview a few years ago how the song made him internationally famous.

"Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Panama and Puerto Rico. Everywhere it reached, people came in crowds to receive us with affection."

Even today, in his small town everybody remembers him: "People greet me, they are fond of me... They say: 'There goes happy birthday!'... That motivates me and makes my life happy. I have never received any [official] recognition despite a professional career of more than 50 years."

A few readers have requested the words of the song so they can join in at the next Venezuelan party, so here you go:

Cumpleaños Feliz (estilo Venezolano)
Ay que noche tan preciosa
es la noche de tu día
todos llenos de alegría
en esta fecha natal (natal, natal, natal)

Tus más íntimos amigos
esta noche te acompañan
te saludan y desean,
un mundo de felicidad (felicidad, felicidad)

Yo por mi parte deseo
lleno de luz este día
todos llenos de alegría
en esta fecha natal (natal, natal, natal)

Y que esta luna plateada
brinde su luz para ti (paraaaaa tiiiiiiii)
y ruego a Dios porque
pases un cumpleaños feliz

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti,
Cumpleaños... [name of the birthday person],
Cumpleaños feliz!

Now you can "sopla las velas y pica la torta" (blow out the candles and cut the cake), turn up the tunes, pour out some Cuba Libres and get the party started.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million for writing out the words. Now I can practice and sing this song at the next birthday fiesta with all my Venezuelan amig@s.