American in Spain

Papa Americano

December 28, 2011

Papa Americano (thumbnail)Over the past two years, a song by an Australian group, Yolanda Be Cool, called We No Speak Americano (known colloquially as Papa Americano), has swept across Europe. Every so often a Spaniard who knows that I am both a United States citizen and a father, will think they are being clever and original by calling me "Papa Americano" and singing a bar or two of the hit song. I think it's cute, and I enjoy the song, so I decided to make it my ringtone. Over the course of the last few months, my daughter has fallen in love with my ringtone, often reminding me out of the blue, "Poppy, your phone says papa americano!!", adding, "Sometimes." The song is an impressive example of what can be done today with computers by taking old music and resampling it to create an entirely new and exciting sound. The original song used is a 1956 swing/jazz Italian song – sung in Neapolitan – called Tu Vuí² Fa' L'Americano, which was made popular by a 1958 movie called Totí², Peppino e Le Fanatiche. The original song is quite catchy and was a hit in its time.

Here's the original:

Here's the remix by Yolanda Be Cool. The actual singing doesn't start until the 30 second mark. Just try not to tap your foot, I dare you!!

When my parents were here, and Nora began talking about my ringtone as she does sometimes, my father realized that, using his iPhone, he could call my phone using FaceTime for free over my wifi network and make my phone ring. Absolute hilarity ensued. We did this about 75 times that night. No, really, that's how many missed calls my phone had on it when I recovered it from Nora's grasp.