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"La Camisa Negra" by Juanes, English translation of lyrics

"The Black Shirt"
Album: Mi Sangre (My Blood)
Style: Rock, grieving/bitter
Country: Colombia

{No por pobre y feo, pero por antojado...}

{Not for being poor or ugly, but for longing...}

Tengo la camisa negra.
Hoy mi amor está de luto.
Hoy tengo en el alma una pena
[*pena, f. = pain (emotional); regret]
Y es por culpa de tu embrujo.

I wear the black shirt.
Today my love is mourning.
Today I have a regret weighing my soul
And it's the fault of your witchcraft.

Hoy sé que tú ya no me quieres
Y esto es lo que más me hiere
Que tengo la camisa negra
Y una pena que me duele.


Today I know that you do not love/want me anymore
And this is what hurts me most
(So much) that I have a black shirt
And a regret that pains me.

-Coda-
Mal parece que solo me quedé
Y fue pura todita tu mentira.
Qué maldita mala suerte la mía
Que aquel día te encontré.


Sadly, it looks like I was left alone
And it was purely, completely all your lie.
What damned bad luck, mine,
To find you on that day.

Por beber del veneno malevo de tu amor,
Yo quedé moribundo y lleno de dolor.
Respiré de ese humo amargo de tu adiós
Y desde que tú te fuiste yo sólo tengo...


For drinking from the evil venom of your love,
I was left dying [lit. moribund] and full of pain.
I breathed of that bitter smoke from your goodbye
And since you left all I have left is...

Tengo la camisa negra,
Porque negra tengo el alma.
Yo por ti perdí la calma
Y casi pierdo hasta mi cama.


I wear the black shirt,
Because black (is how) I have my soul.
I lost my calm because of you
And I almost even lost my bed.

Cama cama caman baby, [*Spanglish :) ]
Te digo con disimulo,
Que tengo la camisa negra
Y debajo tengo el difunto.


C'mon, c'mon, c'mon baby,
I tell you furtively,
Because I wear the black shirt [*for mourning]
And beneath (it) I have the deceased. [*he mourns for himself!]

{Pa' enterrartelo cuando quieras, mamita.}

{To bury it for you whenever you want, little mama.} [*alt. To bury it into you whenever you want, little mama.]

{Asi como lo oyes, m'hija.}

{It's just as you hear it, sweetie.}

Tengo la camisa negra.
Ya tu amor no me interesa.
Lo que ayer me supo a gloria,
Hoy me sabe a pura (mier-)


I have the black shirt.
Your love doesn't interest me anymore.
What tasted of glory to me yesterday,
Today tastes to me of pure (shi-)

Miércoles por la tarde y tú que no llegas,
Ni siquiera muestras señas,
Y yo con la camisa negra,
Y tus maletas en la puerta.


Wednesday by the afternoon and you that doesn't appear,
(You) don't even show signs,
And me with my black shirt,
And your suitcases by the door.

[Repeat from coda]

[Repeat "Cama cama caman..." stanza]

Translation Notes:

No por pobre y feo, pero por antojado...
Not for being poor or ugly, but for longing...
Not for being poor or ugly, but for lusting...

This is a paraphrasing a line from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, but I don't have a copy of the book in Spanish to find the right quote. It is in the second half of the book somewhere. At one point, someone says something very similar to the main character.

---

Tengo la camisa negra
I have the black shirt [lit.]
I wear the black shirt [alt.]
I am wearing a black shirt [alt.]

Black is for funerals.

tener = to have
tener puesto/a = to have on, to be wearing

---

Hoy mi amor está de luto
Today my love is (in) mourning

estar de luto = to be visibly mourning (a death), usually means wearing black for a period of time

---

Y es por culpa de tu embrujo
And it's the fault of your witchcraft

por culpa de = lit. by fault of

---

Mal parece que solo me quedé
Sadly, it looks like I was left alone
It looks (badly, unfortunately) that alone I was left [lit.]

Also meant to suggest the word malparido to the listeners.

malparido/a [noun] = bastard; son of a bitch; bitch; lit. badly born (compound of mal and parido)

---

Y casi pierdo hasta mi cama
And I almost even lost my bed
And I almost even lose my bed [tense, lit.]

Said as if telling a story.

---

Pa' enterrartelo cuando quieras, mamita.
To bury it for you whenever you want, little mama.
To bury it into you whenever you want, little mama. [*alt.]

The first meaning is literal, offering to bury a body. The second meaning is a lewd comment offering to bury something else.

---

Asi como lo oyes, m'hija.
It's just as you hear it, sweetie.

This line is said in the background. It is teasing the listeners, telling them to believe their ears. This song has several lines that suggest profanity or indecent thoughts without explicitly saying them.

---

Hoy me sabe a pura mier- [pause]
-coles por la tarde...

Today tastes to me of pure shi-
Wednesday by the afternoon...

mierda = shit (merde in French!)
Miércoles = Wednesday

---

sólo vs. solo
just/only vs. alone

When I first started translating long ago, this difference confused me because both words have the emphasis on the first vowel. I didn't see why the accent even needed to be there. This page explains the difference. Something to memorize!

Listen:

Video at YouTube here.
Tags:

Comments

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Yes, it's another comment, but I love how you describe things! Just your explanations and just the little distinctions from the literal and having those particular details in explaining... It makes a lot of sense. I know it probably comes from being a native spanish speaker AND a great communicator but it's those tiny things that make translating all the better.
Thanks! :D I think some of it probably comes from studying French in high school. Spanish helped somewhat, but it was always the little things that got me. I'm guessing that's true for most language learners (those darn little things), so that's why I put in the detail.
Thanks for the translation! As a Spanish student, I think that the notes at the end really do help.

p.s. Can you translate Mala Gente?
Watcha! Here's "Mala Gente":
http://community.livejournal.com/songlations/20118.html
The translation notes were fun to write for this one. I had lots to comment on. :)
ola cairaguas.como estas?tu habla espanol.bravo.de donde eres?
Hola Haliriz. Estoy bien, gracias. Yo soy de los Estados Unidos, ¿y tú?
thanks so much! this is great!
You're welcome! :D

(Anonymous)

Thank you for the translation - and notes

From a non-Spanish speaker, it helps me appreciate the song more.
I do realize the effort you must have expanded doing it.
Again, thank you.

Jason

Re: Thank you for the translation - and notes

You're welcome! Thanks for appreciating the effort. Usually, the middle part of translating is fastest. It's the editing before and after that take the longest time.

(Anonymous)

tengo the la camisa negra

Hey I just stumbled on here and I wanted to point out that "tengo la* camisa negra" --> I have a black shirt. Although its a small detail, it actually makes sense for the the chorus "I have a black shirt on, because black is how my soul is". You're very literal in your translations, but sometimes its best to lose things in translation. It helps retain the fluidity in the lyrics.

Re: tengo the la camisa negra

That's more of a preference thing rather than a right/wrong thing. I was imagining that he had a bunch of shirts in his closet and he was wearing The Black Shirt. The song title adds emphasis, so I'm leaving it "the."

I'm going to switch the current very literal main line with the alternative in the translation notes, though. That will make it sound better.

"I have the black shirt" <==> "I wear the black shirt"

I am leaving "have a black shirt" here, though, for parallelism:

...tengo la camisa negra / Y una pena que me duele
...I have a black shirt / And a regret that pains me

(Anonymous)

hi guys in this song theres some bad words hidden in lyrics, that's why is funny for us (spanish speakers)
for example when he says "MAL PARECE que solo me quede" it sounds like malparido/a that's an insult (badly born)
or in "Y FUE PURA todita tu mentira" it sounds like hijueputa (son of a bitch)
i hope this is helpful for non spanish speakers
THANK YOU! I didn't catch those. Sneaky Juanes.

(Anonymous)

Bonito

Can you do a translation for Bonito by Jarabe de Palo, por favor? (See I asked in espanol!)

Re: Bonito

I put it on my list of songs to find later! :-)
Ah, this helps soooo much with my Spanish class! We have to translate the song, and I'm only a bit fluent to put the pieces together. XD ¡Muchas gracias!
You're welcome! I'm glad I can be a reference.

(You're not copying and pasting, though, right? That would be plagiarism!)
amazing translation and excellent notes. thank you so much for all your work. it really helped me to love this song even more!
You're welcome! Thanks for your nice words. I love it when people comment.

(Anonymous)

thankuou thankyou thankyou


I cant say how much I enjoy your translation for a song that has captured my heart...anise

Re: thankuou thankyou thankyou

You're welcome. I am very glad that you enjoyed it!

(Anonymous)

Thx

Wonderful translation!!! The lyrics are sad and depressing I always thought it was a happy song about a guy and his black shirt cause that's the only words I understood lol. The music is soo upbeat for such a sad song!!!

Re: Thx

Hahaha, yup. Juanes makes it catchy and yet sings about unhappy subjects. It's a good juxtaposition and makes the song more interesting, so more popular.

(Anonymous)

Alternate Translation of "La Camisa Negra"

Tengo la camisa negra.
Hoy mi amor está de luto.
Hoy tengo en el alma una pena, [*pena, f. = pain (emotional); regret]
Y es por culpa de tu embrujo.

I wear a black shirt.
Today I mourn my love,
My soul is in torment
Because you cast a spell on me.

Hoy sé que tú ya no me quieres
Y esto es lo que más me hiere
Que tengo la camisa negra
Y una pena que me duele.

Today I know that you no longer want me
And it hurts me so much
That I wear this black shirt
And I'm in torment

-Coda-
Mal parece que solo me quedé
Y fue pura todita tu mentira.
Qué maldita mala suerte la mía
Que aquel día te encontré.

Sadly, I find myself alone
All because of your lies.
What rotten luck I had
To meet you that day.

Por beber del veneno malevo de tu amor,
Yo quedé moribundo y lleno de dolor.
Respiré de ese humo amargo de tu adiós
Y desde que tú te fuiste yo sólo tengo...

Because I drank from your poisonous love
You left me dying and full of pain.
Breathing-in the acrid fumes you left behind
Since you left all I have left is...

Tengo la camisa negra,
Porque negra tengo el alma.
Yo por ti perdí la calma
Y casi pierdo hasta mi cama.

The black shirt I wear
Because my soul is black.
I have no peace because of you
And I almost lost my desire.

Cama cama caman baby, [*Spanglish :) ]
Te digo con disimulo,
Que tengo la camisa negra
Y debajo tengo el difunto.

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon baby,
I tell you evasively,
That I wear a black shirt
Over my dead body

I don't want you anymore.
What yesterday felt like glory
Today tastes like pure (shi-)

Miércoles por la tarde y tú que no llegas,
Ni siquiera muestras señas,
Y yo con la camisa negra,
Y tus maletas en la puerta.

It's Wednesday afternoon and where are you?
There's not a trace of you,
I feel stupid with my black shirt,
And the suitcases you left by the door.

[Repeat from coda]

[Repeat "Cama cama caman..." stanza]

Re: Alternate Translation of "La Camisa Negra"

Thanks. Did you translate this or is there a source?
I got to know this song recently and totally love it, but wouldn't have understood a word if it wasn't for your translation. Thanks so much - now I know it by heart and have learned my first Spanish words. ;o)
That's awesome! I'm glad you found my translation. ^_^

(Anonymous)

La Camisa

La Camisa is a word taken from another language, in French they say: La Chemise but in Arabic they say: Al Camis

Re: La Camisa

I thought this was interesting, so I looked it up. My sources say the etymology is the Celticlatino word (an originally Celtic word incorporated into Latin) camisia, which turns up as "shirt" when I plug it into a Latin-English dictionary. I tried finding al camis in Arabic dictionaries, but I did not have any luck. I don't know if this is because I am searching a transliteration and not the original Arabic script or if al camis is not a word. If you have a legitimate source (not just this forum post I found), that'd be awesome. Here are my sources:

Spanish Etymology dictionary (has the most details):
http://etimologias.dechile.net/?camisa

Royal Spanish Academy dictionary (very well-established dictionary):
http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=camisa

ElCastellano.org (another Spanish dictionary I had bookmarked):
http://www.elcastellano.org/cgi-bin/diff.pl?palabra=camisa

Latin-English dictonary (says that camisia means "shirt"):
http://www.latin-dictionary.org/camisia

(Anonymous)

I do appreciate this along with everyone else lmao though I did think it was happy song till this :(
You're welcome and thanks for commenting. Yeah, it sounds cheerful until you realize what it's about!
Thank you for your work! Who would have thought a song with such a beat would actually be about, well, being dumped :)
You're welcome! Yes, I think people like the bitter lyrics to a catchy beat. This song got very popular.
This is a song that is performed by Mark Salling in an episode of Glee called Acafellas. I was wondering if I could quote you for an essay I'm working on. It deals with the way music is used to reveal things about characters, and reading your translation made SO MUCH SENSE when it comes to Puck's characterizations. I would give you credit for it of course, but I'd be grateful if I could quote it directly in my essay with your permission.

Thanks in advance!

~SK
Quote away! I love it when the translation and notes are useful to people. :-)

(Anonymous)

Thx you for the translation. I never knew that the meaning of this song is just like how I am right now. Just got dumped by a girl I love so much.
That's so sad! I hope music can help heal your heart. :-(

(Anonymous)

Great job!
Thanks!

(Anonymous)

Hey y'all! I do not really know spanish, but somehow, I thought the lyrics are quite predictable! I love this song, so thanx for translating it because I wasnt sure about most of the words. I think it is funny how the swearing is indicated..... I wish i was Spanish! LOL

SHOW THIS SONG TO ALL YA FRIENDS!

Love, Anonymous peep
I am glad you like the song and translation! No need to be Spanish, just learning the language helps you take in the culture. :-)

(Anonymous)

thank you so much for this, we looked at this song today in my as spanish class but my teacher didn't even bother to go into the grammar or meaning of the song. Such a shame, because i love this song and also think that it can teach me so much in terms of spanish!
You're welcome! I am happy that you found my post and that you are using it for your Spanish learning. It's a good song. :-)
Cairaguas, thanx for a very detailed translation!
But I have a question: In this wonderful video two vultures say some phrases. Could you add them to your lyrics?
I added the line to the beginning. I couldn't hear it the first time, but I was able to find it in Spanish online today. The vultures in the video are Juanes mumbling to explain why he is wearing the black shirt.

(Anonymous)

wow thanks! we have to listen to this song in my spanish class every day, so it will be more enjoyable now that i know what juanes is talking about.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!
You're welcome! I love enthusiastic comments. :-)

(Anonymous)

The term "lyrical dissonance" is used to describe catchy beats with heavy lyrics! (Just a little fun fact for those who didn't know!) I did a music video to this song for my Spanish class back in high school. Picked it because of how happy-go-lucky and catchy it sounded! I wish I had found your translation back in '09, because I would have appreciated the lyrics way more that way ^_^

- julipatootie
Thanks for the term. I see this a lot. I wonder if there is a term for cheerful songs with dark music videos. Calle 13's "Muerte en Hawaii" (Death in Hawaii) has a dark title, but the lyrics are nothing but cheerful, all about love and bragging for a girl. It isn't until you see the bloody and violent music video that you understand the title.

I am happy that you like my translation. :-)
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