Ojalá que llueva Café / Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country

Juan Luis Guerra was born in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) in 1957. He studied philosophy and literature before deciding to change to the National Music Conservatory in Santo Domingo, after which he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. As soon as he returned to the Dominican Republic, he recorded his first album and in 1984 “Soplando” was released with his group which went on to be known as 4:40. His fourth album was entitled “Ojala que llueva Café” (1990) and it included a song by the same title. This song was a success and the success was repeated as in 1996 the Mexican group Café Tacuba covered it.

I have heard several songs being covered by different aritsts and get changed through the years into various versions, but with these two versions of “Ojala que llueva Café” I must point out something special. I have not heard many so-called cover versions where the style of the original was completely changed, nor have I heard many songs where version enhance each other, on the contrary, many suffer losses in the comparison. Most of the time my ears were not happy with one of the two. At times the soul of the original was lost in the cover version, or the cover finally provided something needed that was not there before. Only with “Wild is the Wind” I find that through two different versions two great successes have occurred. In their separate atmospheres and in the very different faces of the people transporting these versions, they differ in the theme projections. Nina Simone and David Bowie give very individual renditions, but both pay worthy, round and mature tribute to the words and the music of Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington of 1957.

The “Ojala que llueva Café” version of Café Tacuba gets instantly recognised as the same song Juan Luis Guerra composed and interpreted with 4:40, but just as quickly one notices the dramatic changes as two very different styles. Guerra, as the Dominican he is, composed a Merengue which, although with some influences from the outside music world, clearly portrays the specific qualities of a merengue. Without losing any of its air of originality and purity of purpose, “Ojala que llueva Café” is transposed by Café Tacuba into an example of indigenous tradition, the origin of the mexicans forming Café Tacuba.

One theme: coffee. Two paths, two sincerities, both honoring coffee in their own realms. A double expression of coffee pleasure.

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All English speakers find a translation at the bottom of the post – Enjoy!

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Ojalá que llueva café / de Juan Luis Guerra

Ojalá que llueva café en el campo
que caiga un aguacero de yuca y té
del cielo una jarina* de queso blanco
y al Sur una montaña de berro y miel

Oh,…
Ojalá que llueva café

Ojalá que llueva café en el campo
peinar un alto cerro de trigo y mapuey*
bajar por la colina de arroz graneado
y continuar el arado con tu querer

Oh,…

Ojalá el otoño en vez de hojas secas
vista mi cosecha de pitisale*
sembrar una llanura de batata y fresas
ojalá que llueva café

Pa’ que en el conuco no se sufra tanto, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
pa’ que en Villa Vásquez oigan este canto
ojalá que llueva café en el campo

Ojalá que llueva café, ojalá que llueva, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo,
ojalá que llueva café

Ojalá que llueva café en el campo
sembrar un alto cerro de trigo y mapuey
bajar por la colina de arroz graneado
y continuar el arado con tu querer

Oh,…

Ojalá el otoño en vez de hojas secas
vista mi cosecha de pitisale
sembrar una llanura de batata y fresas
ojalá que llueva café

Pa’ que en el conuco no se sufra tanto, oye
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
pa’ que en Los Montones oigan este canto
ojalá que llueva café en el campo

Ojalá que llueva, ojalá que llueva, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
Ojalá que llueva café

Pa’ que tos los niños canten en el campo
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
pa’ que en La Romana oigan este canto
ojalá que llueva café en el campo

Ay, ojalá que llueva, ojalá que llueva, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo

Ojalá que llueva café

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* * * * * * * * *

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Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country / by Juan Luis Guerra

Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country,
may yuca and tea pour down
from heaven, a drizzle of white cheese
and to the south a mountain of watercress and honey

oh, hopefully it’ll rain coffee.

Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country,
comb a high hill of wheat and mapuey*
come down a hill of grained rice
and continue the ploughing with your love

Oh, …

Hopefully the fall instead of dry leaves
dresses my harvest with bacon
sow a prairie with batatas* and strawberries
hopefully it’ll rain coffee.

So that there isn’t so much suffering in the small plots of land, oh man,
Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country,
So that they hear this song in Villa Vasquez
Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country.

Hopefully it’ll rain coffee, hopefully it’ll rain,
Hopefully it rain coffee in the country,
Hopefully it’ll rain coffee.

Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country,
sow a high hill of wheat and mapuey
go down the hill of grained rice
and continue the ploughing with your love

Oh, …

Hopefully the fall instead of dry leaves
dresses my harvest with bacon
sow a prairie with batatas* and strawberries
hopefully it’ll rain coffee.

So that there isn’t so much suffering in the small plots of land, listen,
Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country,
So that they hear this song in Los Montones
Hopefully it rains coffee in the country.

Hopefullly it rains, hopefully it rains, oh man
Hopfelly it rains coffee in the country,
Hopefully it rains coffee.

So that all the children sing in the country
Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country,
So that they hear this song in La Romana
Hopefully it’ll rain coffee in the country.
Oh, hopefully it rains, hopefully it rains, oh man,
Hopefully it rains coffee in the country.
Hopefully it rains coffee.

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* ‘jarina’ – drizzle
* ‘mapuey’ – a root
* ‘pitisale’ – a type of bacon
* ‘ombe’ – dialect for ‘hombre’ = ‘man’
* ‘conuco’ – small piece of land
* ‘La Romana’ – large city in the Dom. Rep.

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