Cairaguas (cairaguas) wrote in songlations,
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songlations

"Calma Pueblo" by Calle 13 ft. Omar Rodriguez Lopez, English translation of lyrics

"Calm Down, Village"
Album: Entren Los Que Quieran (Enter Whoever Wants To), 2010
Style: Protest rap, social criticism, anti-authority, pro-free speech
Country: Puerto Rico

Listen:

The original music video was NSFW because it had nudist protesters in the second half. The video on Calle 13’s YouTube account was edited to pixelate the naughty bits. Apparently, those scenes were filmed on the streets of Puerto Rico without permits. According to the music video director, Alejandro Santiago (via billboardbiz):

"They were all actors and because of the concept and idea of the song, it was a true liberation," said Santiago backstage. "This was the liberation of a people who had been silent for a long time," he added, referring to the economic and social problems of Puerto Rico. "At the end the problem was not getting them to undress, but the fact that they didn't want to put their clothes back on! There were a lot of onlookers, but we had a police blockade and a production blockade blocking the police."


You can also hear this alternative video with just the song and the album art.

[Expand embedded music video - censored]Song begins at 1:00:


[Expand embedded music video - album art]

Translation:

Nací mirando para arriba el veintitrés de Febrero.
Después de estudiar tanto terminé siendo rapero.
Mi familia es grande — en mi casa somos ocho —
Y la clase media-baja no recibe plan ocho.


I was born looking up on the 23rd of February.
After studying so much, I ended up becoming a rapper.
My family is large — in my house we are eight —
And the lower-middle class does not qualify for Section 8 [*lit. ...does not receive Plan 8 (a subsidized housing program for low-income families)].

Es normal que mi comportamiento no les cuadre
Y más cuando el gobernador desempleó a mi madre.
Me desahogo cuando escribo mis letras francas
Pa' no terminar explotando en la Casa Blanca.


It makes sense that you don't like my behavior [*lit. It is normal that my behavior does not square with you]
And especially when the governor disemployed my mother. [*read the backstory]
I discharge my fury with these frank words [*lit. I vent my anger when I write my frank words]
So that I do not end up exploding the White House.

Mis rimas te ponen tenso y te dan calambre.
Yo soy el que hago que coman sin que tengan hambre.
Mezclo lo que veo con lo melódico.
Yo estoy aquí para contarte lo que no cuentan los periódicos.


My rhymes make you tense and give you cramps.
I am the one who makes you eat when you are not hungry.
I mash up what I see with the melodic. [*lit. I mix what I see with the melodic.]
I am here to tell you what they don’t tell you in newspapers.

Es el momento de la música independiente.
Mi disquera no es Sony, mi disquera es la gente.
Las personas que me siguen escuchan el mensaje,
Por eso me defienden a los puños sin vendaje.


It is the time of independent music.
My label is not Sony, my label is the people.
The people who follow me listen to my message,
That’s why they defend me using fists without bandages.

Chorus:
----------------------------------------------------------------
Calma pueblo que aquí estoy yo.
Lo que no dicen lo digo yo.
Lo que sientes tú lo siento yo
Porque yo soy como tú, {tú eres como yo.}

(x2)

Calm down, village, for I am here.
What they don’t say, I say.
What you feel, I feel
Because I am like you, {you are like me.}
(x2)
----------------------------------------------------------------

A ti te ofende lo que escribo.
A mi me ofende tu playback
Que estés doblando en vivo.
A mi ofende cuando tú sobornas a la radio
Con plata, con dinero pa' que te suenen a diario.


You get offended by what I write.
I get offended by your playback
That you are lipsyncing live.
I get offended when you bribe the radio [*this illegal practice is called payola]
With silver, with money so they play you regularly. [*plata, f. noun = silver; money]

Ni siquiera los Beatles tenían cuatro canciones
Sonando al mismo tiempo en las radio-estaciones.
Esto lo puede ver hasta un bizco,
Tú vendes porque tú mismo te compras tus propios discos.


Not even The Beatles had four songs
Playing at the same time in radio stations.
This even a cross-eyed person can see,
You sell because you yourself buy your own records.

No me digas que no si a mi me han ofrecido hacer eso.
La mitad de los artistas deberían estar presos.
A mi no me ofende que por hablar mucho me llamen loco.
Tú dices poco porque sabes poco.


Don’t tell me it’s not true, for they’ve offered me the same deal.
Half of the artists should be behind bars. [*artistas = artists, including singers]
I do not get offended that for talking so much, they call me crazy.
You say little because you know little.

[Chorus: "Calma pueblo que aquí estoy yo..."]

Yo uso al enemigo, a mi nadie me controla.
Les tiro duro a los gringos y me auspicia Coca-Cola.
De la canasta de fruta soy la única podrida.
Adidas no me usa; yo estoy usando Adidas.


I use the enemy, nobody controls me.
I bash the gringos and I get sponsored by Coca-Cola.
In the barrel of apples, I am the only rotten one. [*lit. In the basket of fruit, I am the only rotten one.]
Adidas doesn’t use me; I am using Adidas.

Mi estrategia es diferente, por la salida entro,
Me infiltro en el sistema y exploto desde adentro.
Todo lo que les digo, es como el Aikido,
Uso a mi favor la fuerza del enemigo.


My strategy is different, I enter through the exit,
I infiltrate the system and explode it from the inside.
Everything I tell you, it’s like Aikido, [*Japanese martial art]
I use my enemy’s strength against them.

Ahora quítate el traje, falda y camiseta,
Despójate de prendas, marcas, etiquetas
Pa' cambiar al mundo, denuda tu coraje.
La honestidad no tiene ropa ni maquillaje.


Now take off your suit, skirt and shirt,
Shed your garbs, brands, and labels [*prendas = (1) clothing; (2) jewelry]
To change the world, bare your naked anger.
Honesty does not wear clothes or makeup.

No me hablen de carteles ni de los Soprano,
La mafia más grande vive en el Vaticano.
Con el truco de la fé se cogen a la gente.
Se cogen a cualquiera que piense diferente.


Do not speak to me of the cartels or of the Sopranos,
The largest mafia lives in the Vatican.
With the gimmick of faith, they seize the people.
They seize anyone who thinks differently.

A mi no me cogen; yo creo en lo que quiera.
Creo en la gente, creo en mi bandera,
Creo que los que me señalan con el dedo
Me tienen miedo porque yo no tengo miedo.


They can’t catch me; I believe in what I want.
I believe in the people, I believe in my flag,
I believe that those that point a finger at me
Are afraid of me because I am not afraid.

[Chorus: "Calma pueblo que aquí estoy yo...", x4]

Ahhh...

Translation Notes:

Calma pueblo
Calm down, village [*lit.]
Calm down, (my) people [*alt.]

---

Me desahogo cuando escribo mis letras francas
I vent my anger when I write my frank words
I discharge my fury with these frank words [*alt.]

I like the word choice of desahogarse (to unburden oneself; to vent; to let off steam). The word is formed from des- (a negating prefix) and ahogarse (to drown; to suffocate). It make it sound like a necessity for Calle 13 to write these lyrics, to prevent himself from drowning in emotion and anger.

---

Yo soy el que hago que coman sin que tengan hambre.
...Yo estoy aquí para contarte lo que no cuentan los periódicos.



I am the one who makes you eat when you are not hungry.
...I am here to tell you what they don’t tell you in newspapers.

Metaphor: social criticism = unappetizing food

---

No me digas que no si a mi me han ofrecido hacer eso.
Don’t tell me it’s not true, for they’ve offered me the same deal.

Broken down:

{No me digas} (que no) [si] (a mi) {me han ofrecido} (hacer eso)
{Don’t tell me} (that no) [if] (to me) {they have offered me} (to do that)

---

Les tiro duro a los gringos y me auspicia Coca Cola.
I bash the gringos and I get sponsored by Coca Cola.

tirar duro = to go after; to criticize heavily; to bash; lit. to hit hard

---

Con el truco de la fé se cogen a la gente. / Se cogen a cualquiera que piense diferente.

With the gimmick of faith, they seize the people. / They catch anyone who thinks differently.

The word cogerse (to seize, to catch, to grab) has connotations of agents of authority "getting" someone.

---

Here’s an interesting review of the album that I found while researching this song.
Tags: calle 13
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