“La Democracia” by Mon Laferte, English translation of lyrics

“The Democracy” Lyrics
Album: SEIS (Six), 2021
Style: Cumbia about politics in Latin America, lamenting poor conditions and atrocities done in the name of democracy.
Country: Chile, Mexico
Listen: YouTube


Tú no tienes la culpa de que la plata a nadie le alcanza.
Tú no tienes la culpa de la violencia y de la matanza.
Así el mundo nos recibió: con muchas balas, poca esperanza.
Quiero que todo sea mejor, que se equilibre esa balanza.

It’s not your fault that money doesn’t stretch out far enough for anyone.
It’s not your fault, the violence and the killings.
This is how the world received us: with many bullets, little hope.
I want everything to be better, for that scale to balance.

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“Amor Clandestino” by Maná, English translation & meaning

“Clandestine Love” Lyrics Translation
Album: Drama y Luz (Drama and Light), 2011
Style: Latin rock
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon


Eres inevitable, amor,
Casi como respirar,
Casi como respirar.

You are inevitable, love,
Almost like breathing,
Almost like breathing.

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“Gracias” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“Thank You”, 1972
Style: Mariachi farewell song.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon.

José Alfredo Jiménez died 41 years ago on November 23, 1973.

My father is a huge fan of José Alfredo Jiménez. Once, when I was visiting home and helping him install a new music program, he started filling his playlist and found this song. He told me more about the legendary José Alfredo Jiménez, beloved and prolific singer-songwriter of Mexico. Jiménez died in 1973 of cirrhosis of the liver due to his drinking. He didn’t die sad or regretful, though. He died full of gratitude for his fans. He composed this last song, “Gracias” (Thank You) to express his love for everyone, and to let people know that he thought his life was wonderful, and that he had made peace with his upcoming death.

He picked his own epigram, arranged his own funeral, and settled his affairs. Here is an interview with José Alfredo Jiménez at the hospital. Fourteen days before his death, he left the hospital and drove to have dinner with his son, then they played dominos all night.

To this day, he is still internationally famous for his character- and story-driven lyrics. When people think of mariachi, ranchera, and corrido songs, they think of José Alfredo Jiménez.


¿Cómo puedo pagar
Que me quieran a mí
Por todas mis canciones?

How can I repay
That you all love me
For all my songs?

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“Destino” by Juanes, English translation

“Destiny” Lyrics
AlbumFíjate Bien (Pay Attention), 2000
Style: Pop/rock
Country: Colombia
Listen: YouTube. This album won “Best Rock Solo Vocal Album” and “Best New Artist” at the 2001 Latin Grammy Awards.


Estoy buscando una forma de ver
Detrás de los espejos del alma,
Más adentro donde está la luz
Que quema, pero que no mata.

I am searching for a way of seeing
Behind the mirrors of the soul,
Deeper inside where there’s the light
That burns, but does not kill.

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“Sueños” by Juanes, English translation of lyrics

AlbumMi Sangre (My Blood), 2004
Style: Rock, politically aware
Country: Colombia
Listen: YouTube


Sueño libertad
Para todos los que están secuestrados hoy
En medio de la selva.

I dream of liberty
For all those who are kidnapped today
In the middle of the jungle.

Y sueño con la paz
De mi pueblo desangrado,
Y con el final
De esta injusta guerra.

And I dream of peace
(For) my hemorrhaged village,
And with the end
Of this unjust war.

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“Desapariciones” by Rubén Blades (rendition by Maná), English translation of lyrics

AlbumBuscando America (Looking for America), 1984
Style: Political commentary, sad song
Countries: Panama, Mexico
Listen at YouTube: Rubén Blades, or Maná’s cover from their MTV Unplugged album


Que alguien me diga si han visto a mi esposo,
Preguntaba la Doña.
Se llama Ernesto X. Tiene cuarenta años.
Trabaja de celador, en un negocio de carros.
Llevaba camisa oscura y pantalón claro.

Someone tell me if they have seen my husband,
Asked the madam.
His name is Ernesto X. He is forty years old.
He works as a guard, in a car dealership business.
He had a dark shirt and light pants.

Salió anteanoche y no ha regresado
Y no sé ya qué pensar,
Pues esto antes no me había pasado.

He went out the night before last night and he has not returned
And I don’t know what to think anymore,
Because this had never happened to me before.

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“Pa’l Norte” by Calle 13 ft. Orishas, English translation of lyrics and spoken parts

“To The North” Translation
Album: Residente/Visitante (Resident/Visitor), 2007
Style: Urban/hip hop
Countries: Puerto Rico, Cuba
Listen: YouTube


Unas piernas que respiran…
Veneno de serpiente…
Por el camino del viento…
Voy soplando agua ardiente*

A pair of legs that breathe in…
Venom from snakes…
By the way of the wind…
I go exhaling blazing water…

El día habia comenzado entusiasmado y alegre.

The day had begun enthusiastically and joyfully.

-Dice… Pasaporte!
-Ha donde va por ahí, luminario*, en esta noche tan fea?
-Usted no se anima?
-Mire como ‘sta el camino. ‘Ta negaiiiito!
-No hombre, cómo, el camino es lo de menos.
-Lo importante es que haiga* bronca.

-(He) says… Passport!
-Where you goin’, luminary, in this night so ugly?
-Don’t you dare?
-See how the road is. It’s terrible!
-No man, how (can you say that), the road is the least of it.
-What matters is for there to be a fight in you.

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