“El Burrito Sabanero” is one of the most well-known Christmas songs in music history. Written and released by Hugo Blanco Manzo in 1972, the holiday jingle is now a staple of the season. Billboard even listed it as one of the 100 best Christmas songs of all time.

Covers of the song regularly get millions of views on YouTube and streaming platforms like Spotify. However, the 1975 rendition, by a Venezuelan children’s band called La Rondallita, is easily the most iconic one of them all.

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The iconic voice behind the song did not receive any royalties

However, the story behind “El Burrito Sabanero” isn’t exactly a happy one. Although millions of people make the song a part of their yearly holiday traditions, not many people know about the iconic voice behind the Christmas classic.

The singer behind “El Burrito Sabanero” was then-8-year-old Ricardo Cuenci. A member of the Venezuelan children’s band led by Raúl Cabrera, Cuenci never received any kind of payment for singing a song that plays in almost every Latin American home in the world at least once a year.

Now, a YouTuber and musician in Miami named César Muñoz is trying to change that. In December 2022, Muñoz published a video on his YouTube page telling what was then the untold story of Cuenci’s life. Muñoz told Cuenci’s story in the hopes of raising money to give the singer what he deserves.

Muñoz’s GoFundMe for Cuenci attempts to right the wrongs of the past

The video racked up more than 2 million views and its accompanying GoFundMe page already has more than $35,000 in donations, despite setting a goal of just $5,000.

On the GoFundMe page, Muñoz wrote, “Ricardo never received any kind of remuneration, neither for the recording nor for the live performances he did as a child. Today, his life situation is complicated. He has gone through very difficult times and recently his house was robbed and ransacked completely.”

Working in collaboration with Cuenci’s US-based cousin, Yessica Yepez Cortez, Muñoz plans to send Cuenci the money in Venezuela. Muñoz is keeping his followers updated through his YouTube page, “La Cata Musical,” where he posted the original mini-documentary.

Muñoz’s 15-minute video digs deeper into Cuenci’s life, as well as the highs and lows of his life since his days as a child performer. Cuenci makes an appearance in the video to tell his story in his own words. Once Cuenci gets the money, Muñoz says he’ll appear on the channel again to confirm he did, in fact, receive the funds.