Cardboard Houses

1. Los Bukis: Casas De Carton

I first heard this song while living in Nicaragua in 1993. At the time I probably would never have guessed that is was Los Bukis performing this song, let alone Marco Antonio Solis who wrote it.

It was the romantic ballad like their 1975 debut “Falso Amor” (a. side)  which I am aware of, what made Los Bukis so famous in Mexico, and a style of music that became popular all over Latin America. But Los Bukis really exhibits a progressive side to themselves with the song “Casas De Carton” (cardboard houses).

 This tune is a lament to the people of Mexico (and beyond) who live in shanty towns. Sometimes called ciudades perdidas (lost cities), the inhabitants tend to build their homes with anything they can find: scrap metal, plywood, cardboard boxes.  And from what I understand of Mexican history, it was in the 1970’s where large metropolitan areas began to see this phenomenon on a much bigger scale. Irregardless, the song demonstrates a slightly revolutionary Los Bukis when they first began. The song starts out with the words; “You’ll never believe this, but there are schools for dogs where they recieve an education”

 2. Los Bukis: Necesito Rosas

I threw this one in for good measure. It’s pre-banda romantic love sounds like this that made it for Los Bukis. This song is pretty tame compared to first one. I guess you can’t always be political. Necesito Rosas (I need roses) is an uptempo ballad about a guy who needs roses for his sweetheart. Where is the flower lady when you need her?

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5 Responses to “Cardboard Houses”


  1. 1 berbatov#9 January 28, 2009 at 8:27 am

    the song “casas de carton” was originally written by venezuelan songwriter ali primera, i believe. this bukis version sounds kinda odd, too upbeat and happy o_0.

    found your blog through funky 16 corners. great stuff here,

  2. 2 daved tate February 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Help me with this question, please.
    my friend told me that antonio solis and the bukis wrote casas de carton.,
    but i recently saw a concert by los gauraguaos, and after the show, asked the band who wrote it.
    The were very quick to say it was ali primera who wrote it , and he allowed them and several others to make it famouse due to the fact he is mostly a writer .
    when i told them my friend said it was marco a. solis , they all laughed and said that he and the bukis just made popular singing it.
    How the heck can i PROOVE one way or the other who is right.
    I did notice you share my friends opinion.
    So why the controversy and why woudl they lie. ???????
    Please, if you wouldn’t mind…….. send me and answer to the private email I posted . thank you in advane.

    • 3 josephfranko February 25, 2009 at 6:21 am

      devon, berbatov wrote a that the song “casas de carton” was originally written by venezuelan songwriter ali primera. i never knew it. the first time i heard the song was in nicaragua in 1994 off some tape cassette of revolutionary songs. i dont recall the version i first heard though. anyway thanks for writing.

  3. 4 DJ Bongohead March 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Hello all,
    (nice blog Mr. Franco);
    I couldn’t believe it when I heard Los Bukis covering this song by Los Guaraguao’s Ali Primera on your site. I was just listening to “Los Chicanos” by Los Bukis, and though the CD says it was composed by Solis, I could swear I heard it somewhere else and that is wasn’t by him – he’s Mexican, not Mexican American, after all. Those were the days of Brown Power and long hair, so that’s probably what motivated Los Bukis to cover those songs – to cross over into Tejas, N.M., Arizona, and of course East L.A./Mazatlan/Frisco.
    But on to “Casas De Carton” – I can confirm, it was indeed Ali Primero who wrote it – it’s on “the record” as it were. Let me explain, Ali is a very important composer in his homeland; I have the actual vinyl record (and the CD) the band Los Guaraguao cut in the early 70s, titled “Casas De Carton” – it has a lot of great songs on it, some of them are kind of funky too (funky trap drums), somewhere between Cuban Nueva Trova and Venezuelan son/folk; kind of like Victor Jarra when Los Blops backed him up, but less psychedelic and more afro-funky. The LP has a really cool cover drawing of…you guessed it, cardboard houses! I almost put it in my Latin Album Cover Art book, “Cocinando” – but ran out of room. It ended up in my album cover exhibit “Viva La Musica!” at Exit Art in NYC a couple of years ago. Anyway, I saw my first real cardboard houses when living in Mexico around 1970; the ‘sopelotes’ (spelling?), the big black buzzards that ate carrion and road kill, were close by all the time, kind of menacing the shanty towns by the airport in Mexico City. A mother and child were trying to keep out of the weather, the hot hot sun and dust storms, they were really starving, it really really stuck with me. Many years later a friend from Venezuela hipped me to the Guaraguao album and it all came back to me. There’s a lot of other great protest cuts on the album, like “Otra Vez” etc. I also have an autographed record of Venezuelan cuatro music, with a nice cover of a cuatro and pandera, by Ali Primero that is really dope too. Not enough is known about this and other great Venezuelan music here in the USA! Anyway, check out my blog, and I will look at the rest of yours when I have a chance. thanks for the great work, Bongohead

  4. 5 Andresito March 28, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Wow, I sure am late to this party, but I first heard Los Guaraguao’s version of this track on a comp called Años Maravillosos de Cancion Social, nice comp of 60’s-ish folk/social/protest with all the greats on there, M Sosa, IntiIllimani, Atahualpa, Pablo Milanes et al. Interesting version by Los Bukis!
    P.S. Mil gracias por este sitio de oro… super chevere


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