"Mondo Bongo" as written by Joe Strummer, Tymon Dogg, Scott Shields, Martin Paul Slattery and Pablo Cook....
There's something there
I was patrolling a Pachinko
Nude noodle model parlor in the Nefarious zone
Hanging out with insects under ducting
The C.I.A was on the phone
Well, such is life

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair, oh

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair

For the Zapatistas I'll rob my sisters
Of all the curtain and lace

Down at the bauxite mine
You get your own uniform
Have lunchtimes off
Take a monorail to your home

Checkmate, baby
God bless us and our home
Where ever we roam
Now take us home, flaquito

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair


Lyrics submitted by Emoqueak

"Mondo Bongo" as written by Joe Strummer, Scott Shields, Martin Paul Slattery, Tymon Dogg/ Pablo Clark

Lyrics © Royalty Network, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Mondo Bongo song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +1
    Song MeaningIdentifying info in the song:

    CIA, monorail, bauxite mine, Zapatistas, latino caribo

    The only Caribbean area with bauxite production, a monorail service for workers (now defunct), Zapatista influence and widely known CIA influence would be Jamaica.

    In the late 70's through the 80's, this would have been a good depiction of Jamaican life in the bauxite mining industries. Our narrator seems to be observing, as well as using the impersonal "you."

    Past that there is only speculation, so I'll keep it brief: "The CIA was on the phone" always sounded to me like the CIA was tapping the phones; just generally maintaining an intelligence presence in the area. It's consistent with the mood of the song, but it's obviously not verifiable without more info.

    A general languor seems present; a world of unrest, but with little to do but drift through the days, waiting to go home.
    discsophon July 14, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAfter watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith I *had* to find out who did this song. I love the way he sings it. It almost sounds like he doesnt care, or maybe he's just drunk. But is that a fidle or a violin in the backround?
    pedersenon July 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song too, and don't know the really meaning too, Does any kindness can expain it?
    such as "CIA" means what?and what it the chorus
    " latino caribo, mondo bongo" means?
    share: What I have found from Internet is " Flaquito", it means some tiny things , or someone else near you and you loved, a terrible pretty word from Spanish.
    amble2002on October 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjeez. do you people not know how to use google or something? and it sickens me to find out this song was in that garbage mr. & mrs. smith.
    swinglineron February 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is sexy and sad....just love it
    SageLFNon October 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was also bummed out when I found out this was in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

    I love this song and the CD, nonetheless.

    As for the meaning behind the song, I have no idea.

    Oh, and you can't be serious about the C.I.A. question. Right?
    Lebowskion October 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am realy loving this song with the smooth voice of Strummer.
    I think it is about a guy who works for C.I.A and he is in love with a woman who workes.
    honey_eyedon May 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think he sound sad, not carefree or drunk. like "life sucks, but what can you do" sad. and the C.I.A. is pretty obvious. its the central intelligance agency, us spies.
    so, i did a little research, cause i love this song, and here what i came up with.
    first verse:
    pachinko is a japanese gambling game, so i think this guy is a gambler, but not nessasarily with money. i have no idea what nude noodle means, but model parlor (parlor being skin tone) i think is refering to his blending in, a gamblers face in a infamously wicked (nefarious) zone. and then hes hiding in a small space because the cia found out about him, ( is on the phone)
    the corus
    mondo means alot/huge and bongo are drums, so large drums which could also symbolize war. caribo is a play of carib which is proper for a caribean person. i think it and the flowers just create a beautiful girl, a carib in mexico.
    and then we find out he works for the zapatistas, which could be the reason for his gambling.and the last verse i think means he gave up his revoultionist life style for the girl and now works at the bauxite mine. but then he gets caught (check mate baby) any way and the bless our home... take us home flaquito is him looking back on being with this girl, and he ends up dieing with her
    twitch13on May 29, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIt's a simple love song. It's about a guy who is on business for the CIA and while there he meets a local girl and falls for her
    mywreckofthedayon July 07, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General CommentMondo Bongo literally translates to "Clean Canoe". He's a CIA guy, on a mission in South America, and comes across a native that he falls for. Simple.
    tinman007on August 27, 2007   Link

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