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songlations

"Ella" by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, English translation of lyrics

"Her"
Style: Ranchera (a storytelling style) about love lost, with patriotism
Country: Mexico

Listen:

Traditional Mexican ranchera at YouTube, sung by José Alfredo Jiménez (my favorite), Pedro Fernández, and Vicente Fernández.

[Expand embedded video]José Alfredo Jiménez:


Pedro Fernández:


Vicente Fernández:


Translation:

Me canse de rogarle.
Me canse de decirle que yo sin ella de pena muero.
Ya no quiso escucharme.


I tired of begging her.
I tired of telling her that I without her would die of grief.
She no longer wanted to listen to me.

Si sus labios se abrieron,
Fue pa’ decirme, "Ya no te quiero."


If her lips parted,
It was to tell me, "I no longer love you."

Yo sentí que mi vida se perdía en un abismo
Profundo y negro como mi suerte.
Quise hallar el olvido al estilo Jalisco. {No te rajes!}
Pero aquellos mariachis y aquel tequila
Me hicieron llorar.


I felt that my life was being lost in an abyss
Profound and black like my luck.
I wanted to find oblivion in the Jalisco style. {Don’t give up!}
But those mariachis and that tequila
Made me weep.

Me canse de rogarle.
Con el llanto en los ojos,
Alcé mi copa y brinde con ella.


I tired of begging her.
With the tears in my eyes,
I raised my cup and toasted with her.

No podía despreciarme;
Era el último brindis
De un bohemio con una reina.


She could not despise me;
It was the last toast
Of a bohemian with a queen.

Los mariachis callaron.
De mi mano sin fuerza
Cayó mi copa sin darme cuenta.


The mariachis quieted down.
From my weak hand, [*lit. From my hand without strength]
My cup fell without me realizing.

Ella quiso quedarse
Cuando vio mi tristeza,
Pero ya estaba escrito que aquella noche
Perdiera su amor.


She wanted to stay
When she saw my sadness,
But it was already written that on that night
I would lose her love.

Translation Notes:

Quise hallar el olvido al estilo Jalisco. {No te rajes!}
I wanted to find oblivion in the Jalisco style. {Don’t give up!}

Here, the "Jalisco style" refers partially to Jalisco alcohol. The Mexican state of Jalisco is not particularly known for alcoholism, so do not take that impression away! Ranchera and mariachi songs often have a patriotic thread woven into them and here it shows up by the singer saying that he will drown his sorrow in domestic beer rather than imported beer. The following line indicates that he is doing so while listening to mariachi music; this is another patriotic shout out.

The background shout of "no te rajes" means don’t give up, don’t chicken out, don’t run away, don’t take the easy way out.
Tags: jose alfredo jimenez
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