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Songs-in-Spanish-About-Poverty

There are plenty of Latin songs from different countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Colombia that address the poverty and hunger situations that the countries are going through.

Many of these songs, more than only addressing a situation of poverty, address political disadvantages and the corruption that some of the Spanish speaking countries face.

These songs vary from sad ballads to rhythmic rap songs. Depending on the topic, some of these songs can have rude language to express frustration in regards to poverty and/or government corruption. Here are some more examples of songs in Spanish about poverty.

7 Songs in Spanish about Poverty

1. “Casas De Cartónby Marco Antonio Solís

Que triste se oye la lluvia

en los techos de carton

que triste vive mi gente

en las casas de carton

 

Viene bajando el obrero

casi arrastrando sus pasos

por el peso del sufrir

mira que es mucho sufrir

mira que pesa el sufrir 

The lyrics of this song portray the situation of poverty that many people live under. Phrases like “que triste vive mi gente en las casas de carton” (how sad my people live in cardboard houses) and “viene bajando el obrero casi arrastrando sus pasos por el peso del sufrir” (the laborer is coming down dragging his feet because of the weight of his suffering) give a strong meaning to this song.

2. “La Carenciaby Panteón Rococó

Por la avenida va circulando

el alma obrera de mi ciudad

gente que siempre esta trabajando

y su descanso lo ocupa pá soñar

This is a ska song by a Mexican band that talks about the working class and how hard it is to make a living with a minimum wage and long hours of work. “Gente que siempre esta trabajando y su descanso lo ocupa pá soñar” (People that is always working and use their free time to dream) is a reference to the working class and their condition.

3. “Baile De Los Pobresby Calle 13

Tú eres clase alta, yo clase baja

Tú vistes de seda, y yo de paja

Nos complementamos como novios

Tú tomas agua destilada, yo agua con microbios

Tú la vives fácil, y yo me fajo

Tú sudas perfume, yo sudo trabajo

Tú tienes chofer, yo camino a patas

Tus comes filete, y yo carne de lata

In this song, Calle 13 compares both upper and mid-upper classes to poor and working class people. “Tú sudas perfume, y yo sudo trabajo” (you sweat perfume and I sweat work) is one of the references that the song makes to mark the differences among the social classes. He puts himself in the shoes of a working class man to find the differences with upper classes.

4. “El Pobre” by Attaque 77

Y andas perdido entre las marcas de tus manos

miras tu ropa y la que usan los demás

miras la chica que nunca podrás tener

y el chico que aspira el tren mientras viaja en Poxiran.

Tal vez pueda ser, lo que te rodea lo que quieras lo escuchas

Un poco de suerte para el pobre

“El Pobre” (The Poor) is a song from the perspective of the poor. “Miras tu ropa y la que usan los demás” (you see your clothes and the one that the others wear) gives the listeners an insight to what “El Pobre” is wearing and how his clothes are different from those of the middle class.

5. “Gimme Tha Power” by Molotov

Que nos guachan los puestos del gobierno

Hay personas que se están enriqueciendo

Gente que vive en la pobreza

Nadie hace nada

Porque a nadie le interesa

This is mainly a protest song by the Mexican band Molotov against the government corruption and the situation of poverty. “Gente que vive en la pobreza, nadie hace nada por que a nadie le interesa” (People that live in poverty, no one makes anything because nobody cares) protests the conditions in which poor people are living and how the government is doing little to resolve this problem.

6. Que Canten Los Niños” by Jose Luis Perales

Que canten los niños que viven en paz

y aquellos que sufren dolor

que canten por esos que no cantaran

porque han apagado su voz.

This is a song of hope that references children singing about hope and gives a voice to those who cannot speak. “Que canten por esos que no cantaran porque han apagado su voz” (May they sing for those who won’t sing because they have silence their voice) is a way for the song to express the desire to give a voice to those who are silenced.

7. “El Baile De Los Que Sobran” by Los Prisioneros

Bajo los zapatos

Barro más cemento

El futuro no es ninguno

De los prometidos en los 12 juegos

A otros le enseñaron

Secretos que a ti no

A otros dieron de verdad esa cosa llamada educación

Ellos pedían esfuerzo ellos pedían dedicación

Y para qué

Para terminar bailando y pateando piedras

This song has a political meaning and references social inequality topics in Chile. “A otros dieron de verdad esa cosa llamada educación” (They really gave to others that thing called education) is a phrase of the song that marks the difference of social classes and social inequality by portraying the opportunities that some people have over others.

– Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: SinEmbargo, 5 Canciones Sobre, 20 Minutos, Proyecto 100 Canciones
Photo: Domingo

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Great songs can draw inspiration from anywhere—love, heartbreak, politics, war and peace, to name just a few. At The Borgen Project, we are inspired to fight global poverty. If you are looking for a playlist while you fight with us, we recommend these 10 songs about poverty.

 

1. Angels With Dirty Faces

Performed By Los Lobos

Broken window smile
Weeds for hair
Strolling ’round the corner
Like a millionaire;
And the angels with dirty faces
Go it alone.

 

2. Another Day In Paradise

Performed by Phil Collins

She calls out to the man on the street
‘Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?’
He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her;
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there.

 

3. Blackbird

Performed by The Beatles

Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

 

4. Do They Know It’s Christmas

Performed by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure

There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear;
Where the only water flowing
Is a bitter sting of tears.
And the Christmas bells that ring
They are clanging chimes of doom.

 

5. Ghost of Tom Joad

Performed by Bruce Springsteen

Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge;
Shelter line stretchin’ ’round the corner
Welcome to the new world order.
Families sleepin’ in their cars in the Southwest
No home no job no peace no rest.

 

6. Hole in the Bucket

Performed by Spearhead

Walk right past and think about it more
Back at the crib I’m opening up the door,
A pocket full of change, it don’t mean nothin’ to me.
My cup is half full, but his is empty.

 

7. If There’s A God in Heaven

Performed by Elton John

Torn from their families
Mothers go hungry
To feed their children
But children go hungry
There’s so many big men
They’re out making millions
When poverty’s profits
Just blame the children.

 

8. Mr. Wendal

Performed by Arrested Development

Uncivilized we call him,
but I just saw him eat off the food we waste
Civilization, are we really civilized, yes or no?
Who are we to judge?
When thousands of innocent men could be brutally enslaved
and killed over a racist grudge.

 

9. Mr. Banker

Performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Mister Banker
Mister please, how much does money mean?
Won’t you reconsider mister
Won’t you do this thing for me?
Ain’t got no house
Ain’t got no car
All I got, Lord, is my guitar.
But you can have that mister banker
Won’t you bury my papa for me?
Oh mister banker please.

 

10. Seek Up

Performed by Dave Matthews Band

Sit a while with TV’s hungry child,
big belly swelled
Oh, for the price of a coke or a smoke
keep alive those hungry eyes.
Take a look at me, what you see in me,
mirror look at me
Face it all, face it all again.

– Katrina Beedy

Sources: EdChange, Lyric Interpretations,
Photo: Artists Direct

 

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