December 4th, 2013

one piece, nico robin

"ICE El Hielo" by La Santa Cecilia, English translation of lyrics

"ICE, the Ice"
Album: Treinta Dias (Thirty Days), 2013
Style: Ballad
Country: United States (California)


A beautiful melody telling stories based on the real lives of undocumented immigrants. The tone is very matter-of-fact, not angry or bitter, just a melancholy rendition of the challenges that undocumented immigrants face in the United States. I wrote some historical and cultural context for the title of the song in the translation notes. This was a hard one to post. The song itself was translated months ago, but I kept editing the translation notes. Watch the music video at YouTube here.

"The video brings together director Alex Rivera and a nearly all undocumented cast portraying their real-life experiences mirrored in the lyrics of the song. The music and the making of the video combine to create a commentary on the state of immigration, the great lengths people will go to in order to provide for their family and loved ones, and the ever-present threat of removal that haunts today's immigrant communities." (

[Expand embedded music video]

ETA 12/5/2013: As per reader suggestion, I updated the translation notes to include two civil rights organizations that are fighting injustices and crimes against immigrants and minorities. If you are moved to donate, these groups do good work!


Eva pasando el trapo sobre la mesa, ahí está,
Cuidando que todo brille como una perla
Cuando llegue la patrona que no se vuelva a quejar.
No sea cosa que la acuse de ilegal.

Eva passing the rag over the table, there she is,
Taking care that everything shines like a perl
(So) when the boss comes, she does not complain again.
Don't let it be that she accuses her of being illegal.

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