Music > Compilations > Moshe Attias > Lavaba la blanca niña - La vuelta del marido

Lavaba la blanca niña - La vuelta del marido

 The Return of the Husband

This is a romansa about “the return of the husband” – a common theme in European ballads. The lyrics tell of a meeting between a knight and a beautiful washerwoman by the water. The knight asks for water and the washerwoman fills seven jugs with her tears. When he asks her why she is crying, the washerwoman replies that everyone has returned from war but her husband. The washerwoman lists her husband’s identifying marks, so that the knight can identify him. This is the extent of the sung text. At the end of the romance, the knight is revealed to be the husband of the weeping washerwoman, returning after all the years of battle. Further on in the text, he puts his wife’s faithfulness to the test.

This romansa was sung in the Thessalonian communities during a pre-wedding event when the whole family would gather to wash the wool for the new couple's mattresses and pillows. The dramatic situation of the romansa - the washerwoman and the emphasis on the woman’s faithfulness- justify (or explain) the use of this romance on the day on which the wool was washed in the city of Thessalonika.

This subject is known in the tradition of Spain and Europe as well as Spanish Jewry. But the source of this version, which does not maintain a uniform rhyme scheme, is a Greek ballad in which the motif of the seven jugs filled with the woman’s tears appears.

Song lyrics

,lavaba y espandía ,Lavaba la blanca niña
. con suspiros la ‘spandía ,con lágrimas la lavaba
copo de agua le demandó ,Por ahí pasó un caballero
.siete cantaicas l’hinchó de lágrimas de sus ojos
?de qué lloras y vos quejas¿ ​¿De qué lloras, blanca niña
.al que aspero non hay venir .Todos vienen de la guerra
...empezándole a despuntar La  barbica roya tiene
.​que me case yo con ella ,La tercera plabra fue