Lesson 2: Exploring “Vamanos pa’l monte”

Aim: What rhythmic and melodic patterns can we hear played on instruments in “Vamanos pa’l monte?”
Summary: Students learn to identify salsa instrumental patterns in “Vamanos pa’l monte.”
Materials: Musical Explorers CD or online audio
Time required: 30 minutes (two 15-minute activites)
Standards: GA: GA:MK-2GM.1, MK-2GM.6, MK-2GM.9, MK-2GM.10
SC: MGK-2.1, MGK-2.2, MGK-2.3, MGK-2.5, MGK-2.6
Vocabulary: guajeo, cascara, tumbao, moñas


Sing “Vamanos pa’l monte”

  • Listen to “Vamanos pa’l monte,” cdicon_22px Track 47
    and clap along with the clave pattern, or on beats one and three.
  • Learn to sing the first coro, cdicon_22px Track 48
    and cdicon_22px Track 49


“Vamanos pa’l monte” Translation  (First Coro)

Vamanos pa’l monte
pa’l monte pa guarachar
Vamanos pa’l monte
el monte me gusta más

Let’s go to the countryside
to the countryside to party
Let’s go to the countryside
I like the countryside the most

  • Learn to sing the second coro, cdicon_22px Track 50
    and cdicon_22px Track 51

“Vamanos pa’l monte” Translation (Second Coro)

Pa’l monte me voy
porque contento estoy

I’m going to the mountain
because I’m happy there

  • Listen to “Vamanos pa’l monte” again, cdicon_22px Track 47
    and sing along with both coros while clapping along with the clave pattern, or on beats one and three.
“Vamanos pa’l monte” is a salsa song written by Eddie Palmieri, a legendary Nuyorican (New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent) pianist from Longwood in the South Bronx. Written in New York City in the 1970s, the song is about leaving the problems of the city and going to the mountains to have a party. Eddie, along with many other famous salsa musicians, started learning music in elementary school in New York City.


Explore Instrument Patterns in Salsa

  • Salsa music comes from a mix of musical influences. It’s also made up of a mix of melodic and rhythmic patterns played on each instrument, which gives it its unique sound. 
  • Listen to the patterns of each instrument individually:
    • The piano plays the guajeocdicon_22px Track 52
    • The timbales play the cascaracdicon_22px Track 53
    • The bass plays the tumbaocdicon_22px Track 54
    • The claves play the clave, cdicon_22px Track 55
    • The flute and saxophone play moñas, cdicon_22px Track 56
  • Use SG41 to match the pattern names in the word bank with the instrument names.
  • Listen to “Vamanos pa’l monte” again, cdicon_22px Track 47
    Choose one of the patterns and clap along.
  • After students have clapped a pattern in the song, they can sign and fill in their passports for Cuba!

Literacy Link

Author Monica Brown and illustrator Rafael López bring to life the stories of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, two of New York City’s most famous salsa musicians. Learn about their life stories in these illustrated children’s books: My Name is Celia / Me llamo Celia and Tito Puente: Mambo King / Tito Puente: Rey del Mambo. Visit monicabrown.net/books for more information.
Tito Puente’s main instrument was a percussion instrument called the timbales. You can remember the cascara rhythm played on the timbales by repeating, “I’ve got rhy-thm like Ti-to Puen-te, yeah!”

Musical Word Wall

Add the words guajeo, cascara, tumbao, and moñas to the Musical Word Wall.


PDF Downloads

SG41 ↓ Download File


Musical Explorers Audio Tracks