El Costo de la Vida

Here’s a YouTube video of a song by Juan Luis Guerra, one of my favorite musicians. I don’t know how old the video is, but the song came out in the mid nineties. I am always amazed by the power of the music video as an artistic medium.

Americans often are amazed when they find out that for many Latin Americans the vision of people like Hugo Chavez and even Fidel Castro is more compelling than that of George W. Bush or even Ronald Regan. Perhaps we need to seek understanding on the dance floor of a Dominican Discoteque.

My attempt at translating the lyrics to this song follows:

El Costo de la Vida

Words and music by Juan Luis Guerra

The cost of living rises again,
The falling peso has dropped form sight,
And you can’t even eat beans
Or a pound of rice or a quart of coffee,
And no one cares what you think
That would be because you don’t speak English.

Ah, ah, it’s true.
Do you understand?

And gas goes up again,
The falling peso has dropped form sight,
And democracy cannot grow
If corruption plays chess,
And no one cares what you think
That would be because you don’t speak French

Ah ah, vous parlez?
Ah, ah, non monsieur.

We’re a little watering hole
Between heaven and the sea.
Five hundred years later
A race on fire, black, white, and Taino,
But who discovered who?
Oh, it’s true, it’s true.

Ay, the cost of living?
Eh, you see, it goes up, you see.
And the peso goes down
Eh, you see, not even the poor can see it.
And the medicine?
Eh, now you see it goes backwards.
Here it doesn’t cure
Now you see, not even a callus on your foot.

Ay, ki-iki-iki
eh, now you see, ay ki-iki-é.
And now the unemployment,
eh, now you see, it’s bitten me too.
And no one cares, no
eh, now you see, since we don’t speak English.
Not Mitsubishi,
eh, now you see, nor Chevrolet.

Corruption is on the rise,
eh, now you see, it goes up, you see,
and the peso falls,
eh, now you see, not even the poor can see it.
And the delinquency,
eh, now you see, has bound me this time.
Here there’s no cure,
eh, now you see, not even for a callus on you foot.

Ay, ki-iki-iki,
eh, now you see, ay ki-iki-é.
And now unemployment,
eh, now you see, has bitten me too.
And no one cares, no
eh, now you see, since we don’t speak English.
Not Mitsubishi
eh, now you see, and not Chevrolet.
Oh it’s true.

Listen!

Recession is on the rise,
eh, now you see, on the rise, you see.
and the peso falls,
eh, now you see, not even the poor can see it.
And the medicine,
Eh, now you see, goes backwards.
Here it doesn’t cure,
Now you see, not even a callus on your foot.

Ay, ki-iki-iki
eh, now you see, ay ki-iki-é.
And now unemployment,
eh, now you see, has bitten me to.
And no one cares, no
eh, now you see, since we don’t speak English.
Not Mitsubishi
eh, now you see, and not Chevrolet.
Oh it’s true.

3 thoughts on “El Costo de la Vida

  1. Good taste in music Ben. Thanks for the translation, one of my favorite JLG songs always wondered what it was about.

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