Lesson 1: Learning “El manisero”

Aim: What is the clave pattern and where can we find it in “El manisero?”
Summary: Students learn to clap a basic clave pattern and sing the chorus of “El manisero.”
Materials: Musical Explorers CD or online audio
Time Required: 30 minutes (three 10-minute activities)
Standards: GA: MK-2GM.1, MK-2GM.2, MK-2GM.6, MK-2GM.7, MK-2GM.9, MK-2GM.10
SC: MGK-2.1, MGK-2.2, MGK-2.5, MGK-2.6
Vocabulary: coro, salsa, claves, clave pattern


Meet Gino


Sing “El manisero”

  • Listen to “El manisero,” cdicon_22px Track 40

    • “El manisero” is Spanish for “the peanut vendor”—“maní” means “peanuts.”
    • “El manisero” is a famous song from Cuba. It is based on the cry of a street vendor selling peanuts (“Maní, maní, maní”).
  • Learn and sing the first coro (Spanish for “chorus”),
    cdicon_22px Track 41
    and cdicon_22px Track 42
    and clap on the first and third beats.

    • “Que rico es el mani?” means “How delicious are peanuts?” in English.

 “Salsa” is the name given to Afro-Cuban dance music as it is played in the United States. The Spanish word salsa means “sauce” and was used in Cuba as an exclamation (“Salsa!”) when something exciting was played in music. Though the music originated in Cuba, the infusion of jazz harmony, arranging techniques, and improvisation, as well as the influence of the Puerto Rican community in America, came together to give salsa its distinct sabor (or “flavor”).

For more history and trivia about salsa in the United States, visit Pete Nater’s Salsa Legends and Masters Academy (slamanater.com).

  • Learn and sing the second coro, cdicon_22px Track 43
    and cdicon_22px Track 44
    and clap on the first and third beats.
  • “Ya se va manisero, ya se va!” means “There goes the peanut vendor, there he goes!” in English.
  • Listen to “El manisero” again, cdicon_22px Track 40
    and sing along to each coro. Maintain the steady beat by either patting or walking on the first and third beats.


Explore the Clave Pattern

  • Listen to Gino play the claves and say “bistec chuleta” in clave, and repeat along with Gino on cdicon_22px Track 45
    • “Bistec chuleta” is Spanish for “steak” and “pork chops”—two of Gino’s favorite foods! They also use these words to remember how to clap the clave pattern.
    • What words or combination of words can you think of that also sound like the clave pattern? (e.g., “Hello! How are you?” or “Let’s go to the park!”)
  • Use SG40 to write a phrase using the clave pattern. Perform the new phrases you create with cdicon_22px Track 46
  • Listen to “El manisero” again, cdicon_22px Track 40
    and clap along to the clave pattern.

“Clave” (pronounced KLAH-vey) means “key” or “keystone” and is an Afro-Cuban rhythmic pattern that holds all salsa music together. This pattern is played on a percussion instrument called the claves (pronounced KLAH-veys) and contains five beats, or strokes. “El manisero” and “Vamanos pa’l monte” are both performed using the 2/3 son clave pattern. This can be remembered by repeating the 2/3 syllable phrase “Bis-tec, Chu-le-ta.”



Creative Extension: Learn the Basic Sidestep in 2/3 Clave

  • Starting on your right foot, step to your right.
  • Bring your left foot together with your right foot.
  • Step out again with your right foot.
  • Touch your left heel in front of you.
  • Repeat this pattern on the left side, and add circular arm motions with the music.


Musical Word Wall

Add the words coro, salsa, claves, and clave pattern to the Musical Word Wall.


PDF Downloads

SG39 ↓ Download File
SG40 ↓ Download File


Video “El Manisero”


Musical Explorers Audio Tracks