La Patria – Ruben Blades

I’ve loved this panamanian song ever since the first time I heard it, the tempo, the rhythm and the words I roughly tried to figure out.  But after getting the full translation…..*chokes* it’s simply WONDERFUL! I only wish more Singaporeans felt the same way I do about our homeland. LA PATRIA!

Hace algun tiempo
me preguntaba un chiquillo
por el significado
de la palabra patria
me soprendio con su pregunta
y con el alma en la garganta
le dije asi
Flor de barrio, hermanito
Patria, son tantas cosas bellas
como aquel viejo arbol
que nos habla y renueva
como el cario que guardas
despues de muerta la abuela
Patria son tantas cosas bellas
son las paredes de un barrio
de su esperanza morena
es lo que lleva en el alma
como aquel cuando se aleja
son los martires que gritan
bandera, bandera bandera bandera
No memorices lecciones
dictaduras o encierros
la patria no la defines
los que suprimen a un pueblo
la patria es un sentimiento
en la mirada de un viejo
son la entera primavera brisa de hermanita nueva
te contesto, hermanito, Patria son tantas cosas bellas


Some time ago a child asked me
About the meaning of the word homeland
He surprised me with the question
And with my heart in my hand
I said…..

Neighbourood flower, my little brother
Homeland is so many beautiful things!
Like the old tree mentioned in the poem
Like the love you still cherish after grandma died
Homeland is so many beautiful things!

It’s in the walls of our barrio, and it’s brown hope
Is carried in the souls of all who leave
It’s the martyrs’ who cry flag, flag, flag, flag!
Don’t memorize lessons of dictatorship or imprisonment
Because the homeland is not defined By those who enslave a country

Homeland is a feeling like an old man’s gaze
like the sun in endless springtime
Like the laughter of a newborn sister
I tell you little brother
Homeland is so many beautiful things!

16 Responses

  1. Ruben Blades is Panamanian. The song IS NOT CUBAN in any way. Please change the error in your introduction. The song is inspired by the love Blades feels for his patria, la republica de Panama!!

  2. Hi Rodney, thank you for pointing that out and you’re absolutely right. I’ve sinced changed it…..thing is I first came across the song watching the movie ‘Dance With Me’ and the movie was set in Cuba.


  3. i love this song and have loved it ever since i heard it for the 1st time at the movie Dance with Me… since then i’ve been wondering on the translation. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. You’re most welcome…and thanks for the note.

    cheers mate! 🙂

  5. Hey thank you for the lyrics and the traslantion. I am organizing an event and I have to give this lyrics to the singer. Also I will put the lyrics in a powerpresentation.

    Funny thing that you translate the word PATRIA as ‘homeland’. I was in a discussion with peers and none of agreed with each other about the translation to english by verbadum. I think another person also mentioned ‘homeland’ but we all agreed that PATRIA is more than one word if we try to translate it into english. PATRIA is so much more and english language doesnt have a word to make justice to it.

    I am just gonna leave the term in spanish, last thing I need is a thousand US Army Latino Soldiers disagreeing with me at the event, LOL!

  6. Hiya Pocho,

    I didn’t do the translation myself, in fact I thought the word was closely linked to the word patriotism or one’s love for the country. Anyhow all the best for the upcoming event….

    Cheers! 😉

  7. I am a panamanian and I am surprised that this beautiful song is not appreciated but owned by people worldwide. It is indeed a heartfelt homage to one’s country and to us it is a second national antemn that refers directly to many national emblematic aspects, the most sensitive is the one where Ruben mentions THE MARTHYRS THAT SHOUT FLAG, FLAG, FLAG. Believe me it gives me the chills because it is in reference to a masacre of 23 students who tried to raise the Panamanian flag in the Canal Zone on January 9 1964) and the song also mentions a Poem by our most representative poet Ricardo Miro, who was in Spain working when nostalgya and heartbreak for being so distant from his motherland inspired the poem also called Patria. Even so, the song is a thousand times more moving. Thank you all for your kindest and sensibility. Since you like Ruben’s work, I can recommend another touching work of art called AMOR Y CONTROL. Later you could follow with a nwer one ESTAMPA. Sorry I’ve been carried away. Love

  8. Another minimal correction would be to the verse “and with my heart in my hand”. Actually it should be “and with my soal in my troath…I said”

  9. Thats true, its from Panama, i am married to a Chorrerana, i love Blades, just to mention though, R Blades mother is Cuban and his uncle did fight for Cuba against Spain.
    But i am complete sure that Blades has a lot of Cuban roots, Tiburon is a Guaguanco, thats traditional Cuban music.

  10. I first heard this song on dance with me. I simply love it. It is so beautiful. It reminds me of all things good. Cheers Blades. Thanks for the translation.

  11. Hello

    In the four line on the first paragraph.
    the translation is
    and with my soul on the throat, I said…..

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