“El Caballo Blanco” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation

“The White Horse” Lyrics
Style: Corrido about a white horse, but it’s really about a road trip all over Mexico on a car (romanticized as a horse).
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

About:

This song is about a road trip [es] that José Alfredo Jiménez took from Guadalajara (in central Mexico) to Baja California (just south of the United States southwest) on a white 1957 Chrysler. It is a good song to teach Mexican geography, since he mentions the places he passes on his journey.

Translation:

Este es el corrido del caballo blanco,
Que en un día domingo feliz arrancara. *
Iba con la mira de llegar al norte, *
Habiendo salido de Guadalajara.

This is the narrative of the white horse,
That on a Sunday, happily took off. *
He went with the goal of reaching the north, *
Having left from Guadalajara.

Su noble jinete le quito la rienda,
Le quito la silla y se fue a puro pelo, *
Cruzo como rayo, tierras Nayaritas,
Entre cerros verdes, y lo azul del cielo.

Its noble rider removed its reins,
He took off its saddle and left it free as the day it was born, *
It crossed like lightning, Nayaritan lands, [*Nayarit is Mexican state northwest of Guadalajara]
Between green hills, and the blue of the sky.

A paso más lento, llego hasta Escuinapa,
Y por Culiacán, ya se andaba quedando.
Cuentan que en los Mochis, ya se iba cayendo,
Que llevaba todo el hocico sangrando.

On a slower trot, it reached Escuipana, *
And by Culiacán, it was already lagging. [*places further northwest]
They tell that in Los Mochis, it was already staggering (falling),
That it went on with its snout (all) bleeding.

Pero lo miraron pasar por Sonora,
Y el valle del Yaqui le dio su ternura,
Dicen que cojeaba de la pata izquierda,
Y a pesar de todo, siguió su aventura.

But they saw it pass by Sonora, [*border state, south of New Mexico and Arizona]
And the Yaqui Valley gave its affection to it, [*moving west]
They say that it was limping from its left leg,
And despite everything, it continued its adventure.

Llego hasta Hermosillo, siguió p’a Caborca
Y por Mexicali sintió que moría,
Subió paso a paso, por la Rumorosa,
Llegando a Tijuana, con la luz del día.

It made it all the way to Hermosillo, it continued to Caborca
And by Mexicali, it felt like it was dying, [*capital of Baja California]
It went up, step by step, past La Rumorosa,
Reaching Tijuana, by the light of day.

Cumplida su hazaña, se fue a Rosarito,
Y no quiso echarse hasta ver Ensenada,
Y este fue el corrido del Caballo Blanco,
Que salió un domingo de Guadalajara.

Its feat achieved, it went to Rosarito, [*a beach town south of Tijuana]
And it didn’t want to lie down until seeing Ensenada, [*further south on the coast]
And this was the narrative of the white horse,
That left one Sunday from Guadalajara.

Translation Notes:

Este es el corrido del caballo blanco, / Que en un día domingo feliz arrancara.

This is the narrative of the white horse, / That on a Sunday (day) happily took off.

In Spanish driving vocabulart, to arrancar is to put your foot on the gas pedal to accelerate. 

Iba con la mira de llegar al norte

He went with the goal of reaching the north

La mira (the sight, aim, goal, intention) is related to la mirada (the sight, look, gaze). While la mirada is used to speak about the person looking, la mira is used to describe the target.

Le quito la silla y se fue a puro pelo

He took off its saddle and it left free as the day it was born
He took off its saddle and it went with just its hair

“A puro pelo” means naked, only covered by its natural hair, in it’s birthday suit.
“La silla” means the chair normally, but it means “the saddle” when referring to a horse. 

A paso más lento, llego hasta Escuinapa

On a slower trot, it reached Escuinapa
On slower pace, it arrived all the way to Escuipana

llevaba todo el hocico sangrando

it went on with its snout (all) bleeding

In English, the most correct translation of the second part is the colloquial “its snout all bleeding”, meaning the blood is all over the snout.

Spanish Wikipedia discusses the meaning and context of the song:
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_caballo_blanco

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