The name of a song that has been circulating among my young Spanish students since the Summer. We were in the middle of the Summer school session. A nine-year old among the group was singing the words, well, actually the single, solitary title word that framed this song. He asked, “Sra. Wright, do you know “Despacito?”

Completely oblivious to the subject of his query I answered with a question. “What are you talking about?” By this time there were more students chiming in with the few lyrics the first boy could offer. They all seemed to take great delight in this piece of music.

It was not until I was on one of my extended jogs to work that I listened to a very short piece of a song (I almost never listen to the radio) with the recognizable lyrics including the word “despacito”. I had it. I knew what the students were interested in. Because the song is sung primarily in Spanish I now rest assured that the students would never fully understand the message in the song. Their mastery of the Spanish language is not sufficient enough. Good thing it’s not.

The song is about sex, slow sex, hence the word despacito. Translation: slowly. I asked one of the other teachers whether she had heard the song. She said she hadn’t. Since she is not well-versed in Spanish she registered complete surprise at the meaning behind the lyrics.

Nine-year old children were singing along. Without a lot of fanfare I explained that the song wasn’t for them. I don’t know if that piqued their curiosity even more. I don’t seem to hear the song coming from them with any frequency. It has been four months. The song is old hat by now. Their short attention span is on to something else.


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