by Anonymous / Unidentified Author
Translation © by Laura Prichard

El vito
Language: Spanish (Español) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Una vieja vale un real
y una muchacha dos cuartos,
[y yo, como]1 soy tan pobre
me voy a lo más barato.

Con el vito, vito, vito,
con el vito, vito, va.
No me haga 'usté' cosquillas,
que me pongo 'colorá'.
[No me mires¡ ay! chiquilla,
que me voy desmoroná.]2

Cuatro curas, se la llevan
se la llevan a enterrar.
Cuatro curas se la llevan 
con el vito, vito, va.
Se la llevan y es mi suegra.
¡Ay! ¡la risa que me dá!
Con el vito, vito, vito.
¡Ay! que no la veré más!

J. Nin sets stanzas 1-2

View original text (without footnotes)

Note for line 7: "usté" is short for "usted"

1 Obradors: "pero como"
2 not set by Nin.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "The vito", subtitle: "Canción popular. Madrid ", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le vito", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Ted Perry , Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] , Laura Prichard [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 18
Word count: 94

The vito
Language: English  after the Spanish (Español) 
An old woman is worth a real 
and a young girl two cuartos,
[and]1 I, you know, I’m so poor
I’m going for the cheapest.

With the vito, vito, vito,
with the vito, vito, it goes.
Don’t you tickle me,
I’ll turn ‘red’.
Don't look at me, oh, little girl
I'm going to fall apart.

Four priests take a woman
they take her to be buried.
Four priests take her 
with the vito, vito, it goes.
They take her and [I see] it's my mother-in-law.
Oh! It makes me laugh!
With the vito, vito, vito.
Oh! I'll see her no more!

Subtitle: "Canción popular. Madrid "

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Translator's notes
Line 1-1: real, plural reales are silver coins first minted under King Pedro I of Castile (1300s); the value of the real devalued steadily over time. After the discovery of silver in the New World (1500s), the silver 8-real coin (variously called the dollar, silver peso, and piece-of-eight) became a standard. By 1868, the real was retired when the pesata was introduced (1 dollar = 20 Reales = 5 pesetas).
Line 1-2: The first "cuarto" (1/4 real) was struck in Mexico City in 1794. Silver coins in the Spanish colonies of this value were also called cuartillos.
Line 2-1: "vito" - This can be a nonsense word and/or can refer to traditional Andalusian dance songs. “El vito”, named for St. Vitus in the 19th century, is a fast triple-time song usually performed by women, with ascending harmonic minor phrases and descending phrygian mode phrases.
Line 2-4: "colorá" is short for colorado, meaning red; it can be a poetic was to refer to blushing, but modern Spanish prefers the word “ruborizado”

1 Obradors: "but"


  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2020 by Laura Prichard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2019-12-31
Line count: 18
Word count: 101