Monday, July 31, 2017


mentioned in this song

The Chamorrita is a style of singing in the Chamorro culture consisting of four lines. These verses were supposed to be composed extemporaneously, "in the moment," with one person answering back the first verse sung by another and continuing this "verse and response" interplay, competing, as it were, who could outwit the other.

In time, certain verses became well-known and standard, repeated in many singing sessions all from memory, such as most of the verses in this recording.

This recording was made of a group of singers in Saipan who had connections with the Northern Islands like Pågan, Agrigan and Alamågan. They add a verse mentioning two of the Northern Islands.


1. Buenas noches Ton Saina-ho.
(Good evening, my elder.)

Oppe yo' pot kilisyåno.
(Answer me because I am a Christian.)

"Håfa, iho, malago'-mo?"
("What is it you want, son?")

I tinalo na hagå-mo.
(Your middle daughter.)

2. I tinalo na hagå-ho
(My middle daughter)

esta guaha seguru-ña.
(already has someone sure.)

Ya ti ya-ña ma atborota
(And she doesn't like to be bothered)

sa' malilinek ilu-ña.
(because she has a headache.)

3. Ya hu faisen gi besino
(And I asked the neighbor)

håfa åmot malinek ulo.
(what is the medicine for headaches.)

Ya manoppe i besino
(And the neighbor answered)

na ma chiko ma na' duro.
(to kiss her vigorously.)

4. Desde Saipan asta Pågan
(From Saipan to Pågan)

Pågan asta Alamågan,
(from Pågan to Alamågan,)

ti manli'e' yo' gåtbon flores,
(I didn't see pretty flowers,)

solamente as Pakåkang.
(only the Pakåkang.)

5. Ai nåna atende
(Oh mother attend to)

Ai nåna i taotao.
(Oh mother, the person.)

Ai nåna, nåna konsidera
(Oh mother, mother consider)

sa' sumen chago' tano'-ña.
(that his land is far away.)


Ton Saina-ho. "Ton" is the general title of respect for older males or males with a higher status than the speaker. "Saina" means an elder, not necessarily due to age but also due to status or ranking within the family. Because the singer addresses the person with the male title of respect, asking for a daughter's hand, we know that this is a man seeking permission from a father to court his daughter.

Oppe yo' pot kilisyåno. "Kilisyåno" literally means "Christian," but Chamorros used it to refer to persons in general, since everyone was a baptized Christian in those days. The term implies a certain dignity, since the person is not just a mere human being but a baptized one, meaning he or she is an adopted child of the one true God. Thus, having this kind of dignity, he or she has certain rights and privileges. "Answer me," the man says, "because I have certain rights and privileges due to my Christian status. You, the father, are a Christian, and so am I. So let us treat each other as brother Christians."

Seguru-ña. "Seguro" means "sure" or "certain." The young lady already has a man she is sure of courting and perhaps marrying.

Malinek ulo. This headache was certainly an excuse for dismissing the suitor, and he knows it, because, with some sarcasm, he asks a neighbor what is the cure for headaches, and the answer (sarcastically) is vigorous kissing.

Pakåkang. This is the nickname for a family in Saipan named Cruz whose members also lived in the Northern Islands. This line may be a loving tease of that family. The singer traveled to three islands and didn't see any pretty flowers, only a member or members of the Pakåkang family!

Ai nåna. This verse speaks of the hospitality and compassion found among many Chamorros for strangers and travelers. The singer asks the mother to attend to the needs of the person, because he is far from home.

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