“Te Solté La Rienda” by José Alfredo Jiménez, Maná, English translation

“I Let Go of Your Rein” Lyrics
Style: Corrido, ranchera, sometimes a mariachi. This popular Mexican song is an epic “you’ll miss me, but go” breakup song.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube (José Alfredo Jiménez, Maná, Lupillo Rivera, Vicente Fernandez, and many more)

Translation:

Se me acabó la fuerza
De mi mano izquierda.
Voy a dejarte el mundo
Para ti solita.

I lost the strength
On my left hand.
I am going to leave you the world
For your very own.

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“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.

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“El Coyote” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“The Coyote”, mid-20th century
Style: Corrido with mariachi music. This is the story of an unrequited love triangle that ended in the rival’s death.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube, Amazon

Translation:

Le pinte un cuatro al coyote, y me fui para la sierra.
El Coyote era un bandido, nacido allá por mi tierra.
Lo conocí desde niño. Fuimos juntos a la escuela.

I drew a cross over the Coyote, and I left for the sierra.
The Coyote was a bandit, born near my hometown.
I knew him since we were kids. We went to school together.

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“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.

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