Music Monday: The “despecho” culture

There comes a time in every house party where everyone who hasn’t fallen asleep will be sitting somewhere on the ground with a bottle of what’s left, crying their heart out and singing along to depressing music. This time is usually at about 5 am and the music will either be vallenato, ranchera, or plancha. This activity is not limited to house parties or 5 am, in fact it can be done anytime, anywhere. All you need is the right music, a broken heart, and preferably some alcohol and you’ve got yourself some despecho.

The dictionary translates despecho as “spite” and defines it as “dislike born in the spirit due to disappointments suffered in attempting to realize desires or vain endeavors” (direct translation from the RAE). As you can see the translation fails to cover the vast and profound meaning that despecho has for the populace. With regards to love, it’s that feeling of longing, resentment or even vengeance you often feel after getting your heart broken. What better way to wallow in despecho than some despecho music!

The first is a vallenato song, folk music from the Caribbean with lots of accordion. It’s a song by the famous vallenato singer Jorge Celedón and it’s calld “Ay Hombre” (“Oh God”). Here is a translation of the chorus:

Ay hombe olvidarla es imposible                     Oh God, forgetting her is impossible 
Ay hombe esto para mi es terrible                   Oh God, this is terrible
Ay hombe sin su amor yo no soy nada            Oh God, without her love I’m nothing
Ay hombe que vacio hay en el alma                Oh God, what a void there is in my soul

The second is a ranchera, which is known in the States as “mariachi music”. This one is from El Rey del (the king of) despecho, a.k.a. Dario Gómez, and it’s called “A ella” (“To her”). The chorus is really powerful and could almost define the despecho feeling:

Ella me rompió el corazón                                She broke my heart
Ella me arrunió la vida                                      She ruined my life 
De nada me valió quemar sus fotos                Burning her photos didn’t help me
No he podido arrancarla de mi vida                I can’t get her out of my life
Ay mi dios quice odiar y verla muerta           Oh god, I wanted to hater her a see her dead
De su cuerpo y de su honor sentí fastidio       I felt repulsed by her body and her honor
Aún la amo y ya no puedo perdonarla            I still love her and I cannot forgive her
Por eso bebo y lloro mi martirio                     So I drink and cry away my torment

Finally we come to the plancha, which is really “música para planchar” (music for listening to while ironing). It refers to “old” heartbreak music. This next one is by the Mexican singer Marco Antonio Solis el ‘buki’ and is called “Si no te hubieras ido” (“if you hadn’t left”).  Here is the chorus:

No hay nada mas dificil que vivir sin ti       Nothing is harder than living without you
Sufriendo en la espera de verte llegar         Suffering while waiting for you to arrive
El frio de mi cuerpo pregunta por ti            The cold in my body asks for you
Y no se donde estas                                         And I don’t know where you are
Si no te hubieras ido seria tan feliz              If you hadn’t left I’d be so happy

And that concludes our Music Monday. What are your favorite despecho/heartbreak songs?

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One Response to Music Monday: The “despecho” culture

  1. Pingback: Friday Five: Lonely Hearts Edition | Vocabat

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