Spanish Music With English Subtitles, Carlos Vives – La Gota Fría

La Gota Fría is a song that was written in 1938 by Emiliano Zuleta Baquero.

The story behind the song is that Emiliano was playing in a “parranda” or party, and Lorenzo Morales came out also to the same party to play.

As there was an ongoing local animosity between the two, that night Emiliano challenged Lorenzo to an accordion duel to settle once and for all who was the better musician.

The duel was set by Emiliano to start at 5am in the local plaza; however, when the time came, people noticed that Lorenzo had disappeared from the party, and thus, he never made it to the plaza.

The locals of Urumita declared Emiliano the winner, and Emiliano went on to compose and sing La Gota Fria to humiliate Morales.

The story does have a happy ending as years later, in another party, Emiliano told Morales that both of them were great musicians and there was no use in the two of them being enemies, so they went on to become good friends into their deaths.

When I first heard the song, they lyrics didn’t make much sense as a couple of words have a different meaning from the standard meaning in the Spanish language.

This is why this song is a good song to listen to and review your Spanish since you get to learn how latinoamericanos attach local meanings to standard words.

But first I’ll go through the words which I consider that required some further explanation.

Right in the beginning of the song we have “Acordate Moralito de aquel día.”

Acordate is the imperative form of the verb acordar, or remember.

However, it looks weird because it is the imperative form of the conjugation with vos.

In countries like Colombia, Nicaragua, Argentina, and some others, people tend to use “vos” instead of “tú.”

So instead of saying, “tú eres” they say, “vos sos.”

Even Spanish speakers get confused as to how to conjugage verbs with “vos” and the good news is that not many countries use it, but you do have to be aware that it does exist, and it is quite popular in Nicaragua, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela. Probably also very popular in other Central American countries.

Nonetheless, if they were conjugating it with “tú”, the imperative would be, “acuerdate”.

But because “vos” is being used, “acordate” is what is used in the song. Similarly you can say, sentate instead of siéntate, (sit down), etc.

Parranda is another commonly used word in many latin american countries to mean “party.”

And what’s the difference between a Parranda and a fiesta? Typically fiesta has a connotation of a party that it is more formal, and more “civilized.”

When you go a “parrandear” you go out to party as if there is no tomorrow. Other countries use words like Pachanga, reventón, bacanal, etc.

Me lleva el o me lo llevo yo. Indeed, llevarse is to to take. Literally translated, this would be, He takes me or I take him. However, in the context of the song, it means to beat, to defeat, etc.

When we were in school for example, when you beat your opponent in a game or anything else, you would say, “me lo llevé” or I beat him.

Vaina. This is what I call a filler word. It can mean many things, but it typically means a problem, a nuisance, or stuff, and even crap.

For example, if there is a problem or something that is bothering somebody, somebody can say, “cual es la vaina?” Or what is the problem?

If you need an object and you don’t know the name of it, you say, “Dame esa vaina” or “give me that thing.” Or, “que es esta vaina?” What is this thing?

If you get into trouble you can say, “tengo una vaina” as in I have a problem, or “me metí en una vaina” as in, I got into trouble.

Of course, the meaning of the word is, a sheath, a scabbard, or pod, but vaina is a word that it is used in Spanish like “stuff” is used in English.

Un indio Yumeco. The translation of this phrase is, a Yumecan Indian. However, in the Spanish language when you want to call somebody an uneducated person or illiterate, you call him “indio,” as in, “you’re such an indio,” which means, you’re dumb. Yes, politically incorrect if this was in the USA or the UK, but it is a widely used expression in Latin American countries.

Thus, if you want to insult somebody, you call him “un indio.” However, as kids, we used this word so much that as you grow up, you don’t really think much of this word as being that offensive, unless you tell it to a person you don’t really know. But among friends, you can even call your friend, ‘Qué pasa, indio?’

An equivalent word in English is bitch. It can be an insult to somebody, but among friends, you can say, ‘what’s up, bitch?’

Cardonales is a place where cactuses grow. Or simply the desert. In the song, the meaning of cardonales is nowhere. If you were born in the cardonales, you were born out in desert or out in the middle of nowhere.

Morales mienta mi mama. The literal translation of this phrase is, Morales lies to my mom.

This is one phrase that for the longest time didn’t make sense to me, until a Colombian friend explained that in Colombia, mentir also means to curse.

I had never heard the use of mentir in this way before, but it is the only way it makes sense in the song.

Therefore, translation of the same phrase using the Colombian meaning becomes, Morales curses my mom.

Update: A reader pointed out the following:   the word mienta is synonym of nombra, or menciona, a good translation for that would be.
“Moralito brings up my mom, just to offend”

Here is the video with the subtitles:

5 Responses to Spanish Music With English Subtitles, Carlos Vives – La Gota Fría

  • Luc says:

    Hey bro, the word mienta is synonym of nombra, or menciona, a good translation for that would be.
    “Moralito brings up my mom, just to offend”
    Well thats just my opinion, I’m not the Real academia de la lengua espanola. lol
    Great job, and awesome page.

  • Tom oconnell says:

    Looks like a fun way to listen to the music i love and learn the language I have always wanted to know.

  • Tek says:

    Thank you for explaining the use of “acordate” in La Gota Fria. I am a student of Spanish, and looked up the word in Barron’s 501 Spanish Verbs, but was unable to find that imperative form under acordar or it’s reflexive form. I guess the book has limitations. Anyway, this is my new favorite song which I am translating now, and this article has been very helpful.

  • Miguel says:

    There is a mistake, the verb that means to curse is “mentar”. The verb “mentir” doesn’t have other traslation, it means to lie. In the song we can hear “mienta mi mama” cursing my mother, in this case “mienta” is the conjugation of two differents verbs:
    “Él mienta” he curses (Presente indicativo en 3ra persona)
    “Juan quería que él mienta al respecto” Juan wanted to he lies about it (Presente subjuntivo en 3ra persona)

    • jose says:

      Late reply! thanks for the comment! If you read the article on the blog I explain that my colombian friend explained that mentir means also to offend somebody; is a regional meaning. But you’re right. The literal translation means to lie, but since it is a Colombian song, I was told that it can also mean to offend somebody; is like the verb coger. In most countries it means to get, but in some countries like Cuba, it means to fuck somebody.

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