Practice Spanish With Music Videos, El Santo Cachón

El Santo Cachón is one of my favorite songs to translate to English, because it exemplifies the Spanish that you will hear spoken in Latin America—full of metaphors and regional expressions, which sometimes are not easy to translate.

First we review the meaning of “El Santo Cachón.”

In Latin America there is an expression for those who cheat on another person, and that expression is, “poner los cuernos,” which translates as, “put the horns (on someone).”

Another popular word for cuernos (horns) in Latin America is cachos, and you can also say, “poner los cachos,” although I must say that “poner los cuernos” is probably the most popular term, but I have no statistics to back that up.

Furthermore, in some countries a man who cheats on a woman can be called “venado” or “deer,” simply because a deer has horns, and again, goes back to the concept of “poner los cuernos.”

Therefore, El Santo Cachón can be translated as, “The Horned Saint.” In other words, El Santo Cachón, in the tradition of the Catholic religion, is a saint who takes care of  those who have cheated on others, and thus, the saint who forgives those who have cheated on others.

That’s why we have the famous chorus of the song say, “Que te perdone yo que te perdone, como si you fuera el Santo Cachón.”  Or, you ask me to forgive you, as if I were the “Horned Saint.”

Now that we have the meaning of the song out of the way, I’ll analyze some verbs and expressions in the songs.

Te “pillaron”: From the verb, “pillar”, which has a few meanings in spanish, but the main two meanings are to steal, or to catch.

In the song, “pillar” means to catch.  However, the word “pillar” has a connotation of being caught by surprise, or in the act of doing something bad.

If you catch somebody doing something they are not supposed to be doing, you can say, “te pillé” or the equivalent in English would be, I busted you.

In addition, “pillar” also means to steal, and you can say,  “me pilló mi cartera” meaning, he stole my wallet.

Also, “pillar” can also mean to cheat, as in, “ganaron pillando” or they won cheating.

El otro día “sabroseando” con un señor que no era yo: Sabrosear is the perfect example of making any adjective or noun into a verb.

If you look up the verb “sabrosear” it will not come up in any Spanish dictionary.  However, the adjective “sabroso” does exist, and it means, delicious.

I cannot really translate this sentence as, “the other day deliciousing with a man that was not me,” although that would be the correct literal translation; however, the word deliciousing does not exist in English, just like “sabroseando” does not really exist in the Spanish dictionary.

In the context of the song though, sabrosear means to enjoy, enjoy the company or even the physical act of being with another person.

Moliendo Caña: Grinding cane, which is of course a metaphor for having sex.

Update: A comment from a reader reminded me that indeed, moliendo caña in Colombia means to make out, which indeed, some other Colombians told me that’s what it means, but some others said, it could be also having sex. So there you have it!

In many Latin American countries, these type of expressions abound, and they vary by country.

One quick example that comes to mind is, “batiendo café” or beating coffee.

Viejos del alma: The word by word translation of this phrase would be, old (people) of the soul.

However, the word viejos in spanish means parents and “del alma” really means, “dear parents.”

Typically you ask friends, Y como estan tus viejos?, or how are your parents doing?

And you can also say, “Un amigo del alma” or a dear friend.

Ajuiciate mama: The verb ajuciar in spanish means, to make somebody have sound judgement. There is no equivalent English word for this, so the closest would be, ‘wise up.’

The word mama in this context does not really mean mom. Typically Spanish speakers refer to a gook looking woman as “mamacita” or “really good looking girl.” Mama in this context is like saying, woman, wise up. Or girl, wise up. It does translate as “wise up, mom” but in the context of the song, this doesn’t make sense.

Por poco meto la pata: Meter la pata translates as “put in a foot.” Again, this is an expression which means, to mess up, screw up. In this phrase, por poco means, I almost screwed up.

When you take a test and you screw up an answer, you can say, “Metí la pata en el examén.”  The possibilities are as infinite as utilizing the expressing, screwing up in English.

Disparate: A foolish thing or a foolish act. Disparate is a common word used to politely say, you talk nonsense or that you did something foolish.

For example, parents can tell a child who is telling a lie or something that does not make sense, “Deja de hablar disparates” or, stop talking nonsense.

In the song the phrase is, “Ahora no puedo ni verte, puedo hacer un disparate.”  Now I cannot even see you without doing something foolish.

This is a word that I used to hear quite often as a child! 😀

For example, if I did something wrong, granma would call mom, and I could clearly hear her saying, “Y ahora que disparate hizo?” And now, what stupidiy/foolish thing did he do? hehehe

Tu primito, si te quiere: Primito is the diminutive for primo, cousin. The straight forward translation is, “your little cousin, if he wants you.”

However, in the context of the song, primito has a connotation similar to saying, “your so called cousin.”

Diminutives in spanish serve many different purposes. Earlier we saw mamacita which means a good looking girl.

A primito can either be a small cousin of yours, or in the case of the song, somebody who supposedly is your cousin, but obviously is the lover of the girl.

Que te exprima: Exprimir means to squeeze, to wring, and even to exploit.

In the song, it has more of a sexual meaning, obviously.

For now, those are all the words which I thought required a bit more of an explanation in the video. If there are any questions, let me know.

Now, here is the video:


2 Responses to Practice Spanish With Music Videos, El Santo Cachón

  • Laura Suarez Henderson says:

    This is an awesome article! My (American) husband and I (Colombian) enjoy this song and your interpretations very much indeed. Just one comment: I’ve always taken “moliendo caña” as making out. 🙂

    • jose says:

      hah! Yes, when I asked my colombian friends what the phrase actually meant, there was disagreement; some said, making out, couple of others said having sex; so then I asked other latin americans and many said, of course, having sex, after all, le están poniendo los cachos, no? But I’ll add that to the post! 😀

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