This week Nellie McKay offers our first Spanish-language ‘Gum Drop. The New Yorker’s third studio album Obligatory Villagers is out next week on her Hungry Mouse label — live favorite “Me Gusta Mañana” won’t be included, so we thought it wise to premiere the studio version here. We caught up with McKay to ask her about the song.
Why’d you decide to write “Me Gusta Mañana” in Spanish?
With the Spanish, it takes on a whole different flavor. Other languages hold the promise of an entirely new vista, an entirely new country of places you can go. Even the sound of the language is exciting. You have words, but it’s more about the sounds of the words than the literal meanings … also, maybe you can pick up a bit of the language from listening to it.
I’ve been learning so much more Spanish since I’ve been involved with this tenants’ coalition, which is The Coalition To Preserve Community … they’re Spanish speakers. We’re fighting Columbia’s expansion. Had I been working with this coalition when I wrote this song, my Spanish would have been much better.
What exactly is the song about?
That we can make a brighter future together, that immigrants help make a brighter future, and that you know, if everyone went vegetarian, then all species and the planet would have a brighter future as well. I encourage people to go vegan. I only found the Spanish word for vegetarian, but vegan is in there, too.
I saw an on-line translation that uncovered the word “omelet” in there. You’re vegan. Wouldn’t this be “tofu scramble”?
I don’t mention omelet. [Laughs]
Yeah, you gotta take that on-line stuff [with a grain of salt] … this has happened before … [Laughs] “Gee, I had no idea I wrote a song about a Russian honky tonk.”