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one piece, nico robin

cairaguas in songlations

"La Bala" by Ana Tijoux, English translation of lyrics

"The Bullet"
Album: La Bala (The Bullet), 2011
Style: Urban with rock influence
Countries: Chile, France

Listen:

Ana Tijoux tells the story and aftermath of a youth shot down in the street by armed authorities. This is a protest song referencing the violent clashes between police and protesters in Chile. However, despite speculation, Ana Tijoux denies that it is based on any specific incident. Listen at YouTube here.

Warning: Although the song is on the victim's side, the lyrics may be triggering.

[Expand embedded video]

Translation:

La pistola lo miraba fijamente
Bajo el manto, brillo cromo de su veneno.
Un disparo repentino
Penetro cada partícula del aire, luego se cayó.


The gun watched him with a steely gaze
Underneath the cloak, the shiny chrome of its venom.
A sudden shot
Penetrated every particle of air, then he fell.

Se derramó la primera gota ya por la cien. (x3)
Por la cien.

The first drops (of blood) fell now by the hundreds. (x3)
By the hundreds.

La muerte lo miró de forma desafiante
Con la sangre entre los dientes
Y una oscuridad de reinante.


Death gave him a challenging look [*lit. Death looked at him in a defiant way]
With blood between its teeth
And a dominating darkness.

La bala entre tanto suspendida fija,
Bailaba una asesinato girando sobre sí misma.


The bullet suspended firmly between so many things,
It danced the dance of assassination, spinning over itself.

Se perdió de vista la vida con su pista,
Mientras un joven padece, ante el deceso su conquista,
Suelo... de rodilla, su beso cambia lentamente del rojo al hielo.


One lost sight of one’s life when one caught sight of it (the bullet),
Meanwhile a youth suffers, conquered by death,
(The) floor... on his knees, his lips change slowly from red to ice.

Chorus:
------------------------------------------------
Angelitos de papel
Se han perdido por Babel.
¿Quién devolverá esta piel?
La madre le suplica al coronel.


Little paper angels
Have been scattered across Babel.
Who will return this skin? [*euphemism for body]
The mother pleads with the colonel.

La muerte es un carrusel,
Fúnebre en su vaivén,
Un juicio final cruel.
El ángel le suplica al coronel.


Death is a carousel,
Gloomy in its ups and downs,
A cruel final judgement.
The angel pleads with the colonel.

Bum, bum, bum, buum. (x3)
Bum.
Bum.


Boom, boom, boom, boooom. (x3)
Boom.
Boom.
------------------------------------------------

Su mirada quedó congelada por el súbito sonido pulsante
Que lo baleó.
Hombre desplomado, desangrado sin aliento,
Quedó pálido.
La vida le fallo.


His gaze was left frozen due to the sudden striking sound
That shot him down.
Man with his feathers plucked, bleeding out without breath,
He was left pale.
His life gave out.

Se derramó la primera gota ya por la cien. (x3)
Por la cien.

The first drops (of blood) fell now by the hundreds. (x3)
By the hundreds.

Aquel cuerpo sin vida era su hijo.
Maria estupefacta cayó al piso.
Su rostro deformado se convirtio en un grito,
Quedó solo un zumbido que significa, "¡asesino!"


That body without life was her son.
Maria fell to the ground stupefied. [*reference to the Lamentation of Christ]
Her deformed face turned into a scream,
Leaving only a buzzing that meant, "murderer!"

La hora del deceso marcada por un beso del adiós
De la madre perdida en desconsuelo,
Hizo llover al cielo, lágrimas del desierto,
Y hasta la muerte se quedó callada por respeto.


The hour of death marked by a goodbye kiss
From the mother lost in her grief,
She made the sky rain, tears of the desert,
And even Death fell silent respectfully. [*lit. And even Death stayed silent for respect.]

[Chorus: "Angelitos de papel..."]

Tiros suenan, muertes llevan,
Polvos queman, pre-ka-pam-pam.

(x4)

Shots are heard, lives are taken,
(Gun)powders are burned, pre-ka-pam-pam.
(x4)

Translation Notes:

Se derramó la primera gota ya por la cien.
The first drops (of blood) fell now by the hundreds.

This line has singular gota (drop), but I translated it as plural to make more grammatical sense with the next part ("by the hundreds") in English.

---

Se perdió de vista la vida con su pista.
One lost sight of one’s life when one caught sight of it (the bullet).

Part-by-part:

(Se perdió de vista) {la vida} [con] [su pista]
(One lost sight of...) {...one's life} [with] [its sight]
(It was lost sight of) {the life} [with] [its sight]

The second "it" refers to the bullet mentioned in the previous line.

---

Mientras un joven padece, ante el deceso su conquista.
Suelo... de rodilla, su beso cambia lentamente del rojo al hielo.


Meanwhile a youth suffers, conquered by death.
(The) floor... on his knees, his lips change slowly from red to ice.

Alternative transcription:

Mientras un joven padece, ante el deceso su conquista... (el) suelo.
De rodilla, su beso cambia lentamente del rojo al hielo.


Meanwhile a youth suffers, his conquest before death... the floor.
On his knees, his lips change slowly from red to ice.

joven (m. noun) = youth

padecer (verb) = to suffer; to endure

ante (preposition) = before

deceso (m. noun) = decease; death; passing (death)

beso (m. noun) = kiss
In the second line, beso was translated to "lips" because that is what beso really meant there. The word beso was used poetically.

---

Angelitos de papel se han perdido por Babel.
Little paper angels have been scattered across Babel.

perder (verb) = to lose
perderse (reflexive verb) = to get lost

I think the "little paper angels" refer to the fliers that families put up when people go missing. The Babel reference implies that communicating and getting information will be difficult.

---

La vida le fallo.
His life gave out.

fallar (verb) = to fail; to break down; to go wrong; to break; to give way

---

Su rostro deformado se convirtio en un grito.
Her deformed face turned into a scream.

rostro (m. noun) = face
cara (f. noun) = face

Although both words can be used neutrally and usually interchangeably, the word rostro sometimes has different connotations than the word cara.

The word cara is a more common and neutral word for "face." It can have positive or negative connotations depending on the usage. For example, "face" in a love poem is more likely to be cara. On the other hand, cara can also be used when talking about a façade or a false face.

I tend to see the word rostro either as a neutral or a more serious, more grave word. When talking about wanted signs, the face on the wanted sign is the rostro. The face of death is el rostro de la muerte. The face of Christ is el rostro de Cristo.

---

Tiros suenan, muertes llevan
Shots are heard, lives are taken
Shots sound out, they take lives [*lit.]
Shots sound out, they bring deaths [*lit.]

muerte (f. noun) = death

llevar (verb) = to take; to bring; to carry

Comments

Gracias! I wanted to share this song with friends, but I didn't have the translation skills to do it. You've done a great job!
You're welcome. I wish it were under better circumstances. The police abuse of power in Ferguson is really sad.
Yeah. It's sad but true that Tijoux's angrier lyrics often stay relevant.
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