“El Ramalazo” by Flor Silvestre, cover by Selena Quintanilla, English translation

“The Fall” Lyrics, lit. “The Impact” or “The Blast of Wind”
Style: Mariachi
Countries: United States (Texas), Mexico
Listen: This song is full of life advice and metaphors. It speaks about the fall of a great tree. It was so large, and it fell so hard. The song is covered on Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s anthology album, disc 2. Listen to Flor Silvestre’s original version on YouTube.

Translation:

Deja amistades pa’ cuando caigas,
Te den la mano.
Brinde una copa pa’ cuando llores,
Te den un trago.

Keep friendships so that when you fall,
They give you a hand.
Raise your glass (to others’ happiness) so that when you cry,
They give you a drink.

Continue reading ““El Ramalazo” by Flor Silvestre, cover by Selena Quintanilla, English translation”

“El Perro Negro” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation

“The Black Dog” Lyrics
Style: Corrido (a storytelling style) about a loyal dog.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

About:

José Alfredo Jiménez was a famous and prolific Mexican singer-songwriter. Remember his name if you are interested in the music history of Latin America or Mexican culture. His songs created a new mythology in Mexico. He sang about characters and stories. This song is about the murder of Gilberto the Brave, who was killed in his sleep by a cowardly but powerful rival. Gilberto had a loyal dog who avenged his murder. 

Translation:

Al otro lado del puente
De La Piedad, Michoacán,
Vivía Gilberto el Valiente,
Nacido en Apatzingán.

On the other side of the bridge
Of La Piedad, Michoacán,
Lived Gilberto the Brave,
Born in Apatzingán.

Siempre con un perro negro
Que era su noble guardián.

Always with a black dog
That was his noble guardian.

Continue reading ““El Perro Negro” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation”

“Smaragdos Margara” by Dúo Guardabarranco, English translation of lyrics

“Smaragdos Margara (Claviceps Purpura)”, 1995
Album: Si Buscabas (If You Searched), 1985
Singers: Salvador Cardenal and Katia Cardenal
Style: Soft folk music, strong vocals; hauntingly pretty and ambiguous. I like how music travels the world. I actually first heard this song as a cover on Une Histoire de Famille, a French language album by the Montreal band Hart-Rouge.
Country: Nicaragua
Listen: original by Dúo Guardabarranco (softly spoken) on YouTube or Amazon.

Translation:

Con una aguja con hilo blanco,
Con la carrucha en tu regazo,
Cóseme el flanco, la herida aguda,
La negra llaga de mi costado.

With a needle with white thread,
With the spool on your lap,
Sew up my side, my acute wound,
The black ulcer on my side.

Continue reading ““Smaragdos Margara” by Dúo Guardabarranco, English translation of lyrics”

“Interrogación” by Julio Jaramillo, English translation

“Question” Lyrics
Style: Pasillo, heartsickness
Country: Ecuador
Listen at YouTube. Julio Jaramillo would rather be stabbed in the gut than lied to about love. He just wants the truth. I love the lyrics. They are clear and concise but so poetic.

Translation:

Ya no creo en nada.
Hasta dudo de ti.
Siento desconfianza.
Ya no creo ni en mí.

I no longer believe in anything.
I doubt even you.
I feel distrust.
I no longer believe even in me.

Continue reading ““Interrogación” by Julio Jaramillo, English translation”

“Paloma Querida” by José Alfredo Jiménez, Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete; English translation of lyrics

“Beloved Dove” Lyrics
Style: Ranchera, love song. A popular old romantic song in Mexico.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

Translation:

Por el día que llegaste a mi vida,
Paloma querida, me puse a brindar,
Y al sentirme un poquito tomado,
Pensando en tus labios, me dio por cantar.

For the day that you entered into my life,
Beloved dove, I began to toast,
And on feeling a little drunk,
Thinking of your lips, I was inspired to sing.

Continue reading ““Paloma Querida” by José Alfredo Jiménez, Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete; English translation of lyrics”

“El Rey” (The King) by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“The King”
Composer: José Alfredo Jiménez
StyleRanchera very popular in Mexico. This is one of José Alfredo’s most famous songs.
Country: Mexico
Listen on YouTube: José Alfredo Jiménez (original), Vicente Fernandez, Alejandro Fernández, and now George Strait (possibly because of my translation? I don’t know, but if so, I am very honored!)

Translation:

Yo sé bien que estoy afuera
Pero el día que yo me muera
Sé que tendrás que llorar.
(Llorar y llorar, x2)

I am fully aware that I am out
But the day that I die
I know that you will have to cry.
(Cry and cry, x2)

Dirás que no me quisiste,
Pero vas a estar muy triste
Y así te vas a quedar.

You will say that you did not love me,
But you will be very sad
And that is how you will stay.

Continue reading ““El Rey” (The King) by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics”

“Nuestro Juramento” by Julio Jaramillo, cover by La Santa Cecilia, English translation of lyrics

“Our Vow” (1956) Lyrics
Composer: Benito de Jesús, famously sung by Julio Jaramillo.
Style: Pasillo, waltz-like originally. Many covers in different styles.
Country: Ecuador originally, but popular across Latin America.
Listen: Julio Jaramillo (Ecuador), José Feliciano (Puerto Rico), Javier Solis (Mexico), Vicente Fernández (Mexico) La Santa Cecilia (Mexican-American), Juanes (Colombia).

“Nuestro Juramento” is a well-known romance song across Latin America and arguably Julio Jaramillo’s most famous song. It is about human mortality and passion. It is two lovers who declare to continue loving each other forever, and to be devastated should the other die. The verb jurar means “to swear, to vow” and a juramento is an oath or a vow.

Continue reading ““Nuestro Juramento” by Julio Jaramillo, cover by La Santa Cecilia, English translation of lyrics”

“Dios No Lo Quiera” by Sanchez Alonso, English translation of lyrics

“May God Not Want It” Lyrics
Style: Romantic song lamenting a lover who is pulling away.
Country: Mexico
Composed by: Enrique Sánchez Alonso (Mexico)
Listen, sung by: Tania Libertad, Ana Gabriel, Javier Solis, Los Tres Ases, and many more.

Translation Notes:

Dios no lo quiera
Pero presiento que has dejado de quererme.
En estos días se te nota diferente,
Se han vuelto frías tus caricias de repente.

May God not let it be
But I feel that you no longer love me.
In these days, your presence is different,
Your caresses have turned cold suddenly.

Continue reading ““Dios No Lo Quiera” by Sanchez Alonso, English translation of lyrics”

“Es Por Ti” by Juanes, English translation of lyrics

“It’s For You”
AlbumUn Día Normal (A Normal Day), 2002
Style: Soft rock with a beat, almost pop, love song
Country: Colombia
Listen: YouTube

Translation:

Cada vez que me levanto
Y veo que a mi lado estás
Me siento renovado
.

Every time I rise
And see you at my side
I feel renewed.

Y me siento aniquilado,
Aniquilado si no estás.
Tú controlas toda mi verdad
Y todo lo que está de más
.

And I feel unbalanced,
Unbalanced if you aren’t around.
You control my whole truth
And everything else (of barest mention).

Continue reading ““Es Por Ti” by Juanes, English translation of lyrics”