“El Hijo del Pueblo” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“The Town Son”
Composer: José Alfredo Jiménez
Style: Ranchera about poverty with dignity.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

Es mi orgullo haber nacido
En el barrio más humilde,
Alejado del bullicio
(Y) de la falsa sociedad.

It is my pride to have been born
In the most humble neighborhood,
Away from the hustle and bustle
(And) from the false society.

Yo no tengo la desgracia
De no ser hijo del pueblo.
Yo me cuento entre la gente
Que no tiene falsedad.

I do not have the disgrace
Of not being a son of the town.
I count myself among the people
Who do not carry dishonesty.

Mi destino es muy parejo.
Yo lo quiero como venga,
Soportando una tristeza
O detrás de la ilusión.
 [*alt. una illusión]

My destiny is very straight.
I want it how it comes,
Carrying a sadness
Or behind (a) dream.

Yo camino por la vida
Muy feliz con mi pobreza;
Como no tengo dinero,
 [*alt. Porque no…]
Tengo mucho corazón.

I walk through life
Very happy with my poverty;
Since I do not have money, [*alt. Because I…]
I have a lot of heart.

Descendiente de Cuauhtémoc,
Mexicano por fortuna,
Desdichado en los amores,
Soy borracho y trovador.

Descendent of Cuauhtémoc,
Mexican by fortune,
Ill-fated in love,
I am a drunkard and a minstrel [*lit. troubadour].

Pero cuántos millonarios
Quisieran vivir mi vida,
Pa’ cantarle a la pobreza
Sin sentir ningún temor
 [*alt. dolor].

But how many millionaires
Would like to live my life,
So they could sing to poverty
Without feeling any fear [*alt. sorrow].

Es por eso que es mi orgullo
Ser del barrio más humilde,
Alejado del bullicio
(Y) de la falsa sociedad.

That is why it is my pride
To be from the most humble neighborhood,
Away from the hustle and bustle
(And) from the false society.

Yo compongo mis canciones
Pa’ que el pueblo me las cante
Y el día que el pueblo me falle,
Ese día voy a llorar.

I compose my songs
So that the town will sing them to me
And the day that the town fails me,
That day I am going to cry.

Translation Notes:

Alejado del bullicio / de la falsa sociedad.
Away from the hustle and bustle / of the false society.

Or…

Alejado del bullicio / y de la falsa sociedad.
Away from the hustle and bustle / and from the false society.

Yo me cuento entre la gente / Que no tiene falsedad.
I count myself among the people / Who do not carry dishonesty.

lit. have falseness; (who are not) false

O detrás de la ilusión [la = the]
O detrás de una ilusión [una = an, doesn’t change the meaning much, though]

Or behind (a) dream
Or behind (a) hope [alt.]
Or behind (an) illusion [lit.]

In Spanish, ilusión is often used to mean a dream/hope. It’s used to describe wishful thinking or big dreams for the future, inspiration by an idea, being starry eyed, etc. It has mixed connotations. It can be positive (nothing wrong with dreaming and having hopes for the future!) or cynical (it’s just dreaming… how futile).

Es por eso que es mi orgullo
That is why it is my pride

[Es por eso] (que) {es mi orgullo}
[It is because of that] (that) {it is my pride}

Other Renditions:

Vicente Fernández (Mexico)


Los Tigres Del Norte (Mexico)


Jorge Negrete (Mexico)


Pedro Infante (Mexico)


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