Tuna / tunas (musical group)

  • fenixpollo

    Senior Member & Moderator
    American English
    Pues he encontrado:
    university tuna -this link uses the word "tuna" in quotes, so it is not a translation.
    tuna music group (2) -these links say "a Spanish Tuna" and explain what it is, instead of translating it.
    tuna -this Wikipedia article was written by someone who wanted to describe the "tunas" from a Spanish perspective, instead of giving a translation or discussing the cultural equivalent in English.
    These are all good sources, Kibra, but I don't think that they are proof that a "tuna" is a "tuna" in English. You could use the word "tuna", but you would still have to explain it, like the news articles did. If you didn't, people would think that you were talking about fish.

    When I tell people that I saw a tuna perform, I say that I saw a minstrel group perform, or that I saw a band of minstrels. If they are not in a concert hall or music venue, and instead walking along the street and serenading the people, then I call them strolling minstrels. I use "minstrel" because it suggests medieval musicians with oddly-shaped guitars. ;)


    Senior Member
    Tunas, also known as "estudiantinas" are groups of students (tunos) dressed in 17th century costumes who play guitars, lutes and tambourines and go serenading through the streets.
    They also make appearance at weddings and parties singing traditional spanish songs.

    I think that we must name them "tunas" o "estudiantinas".
    Could we translate "mariachi"?
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA: English & Spanish
    I think that "strolling minstrels", that Fenixpollo said, is the closest you can get to a description of a "tuna" in English. However, being related to Spanish culture, the term just has no translation.

    I first encountered them when a group from Spain performed at my high school many years ago when I was a boy. The term we used then was a "tuna", although the word was usually written in quotation marks (as I just wrote it; one might also use italics) to make it clear that the word did not refer to the fish!!!


    New Member
    I've known that tuna is the fruit of various prickly pear cactus, nopal, (genus Opuntia), but today I learned in class of the other definition, university music group.

    I assume that the word is an indigenous Mexican word (for the fruit), and that the name for the music group is somehow connected to the striking red portion of their costume, which I further assume comes from the cochineal insect dye that Oaxacan's have domesticated and cultivated for millennia on the nopal.

    But what is the real etymology of this second meaning?