8.05.2011

No le pegue a la negra

So, Colombian singer Álvaro José Arroyo González recently died, and my Colombian American coworker introduced me to one of Arroyo's famed pieces, "La Rebelion (No le pegue a la negra)".  He sings of history, about when enslaved Africans were first brought to the Colombian shores, and kissed the land.  The indigenous peoples considered it the perfect tribute.

Arroyo goes on to sing about the intermarrying of the Africans and the indigenous peoples of Colombia, and the harsh brutality of the Spaniards who would beat the African women, which gave rise to the phrase no le pegue a la negra which, literally translated, means "Don't beat the black woman."

However, in Colombia, "negra" is basically the term for all women, because the women supposedly tend to be darker than the men.  Thus, no le pegue a la negra generally means, "Don't touch my lady."

Fascinating, isn't it?  That in this country, the black woman is seen as the ultimate "Other Woman", while in a country like Colombia, she's basically "All Women".

All of Colombia, even the President, is mourning Arroyo.


Un matrimonio africano
Esclavos de un español
El les daba muy mal trato,
Y a su negra le pegó y fue alli
Se rebeló el negro guapo
Tomó venganza por su amor
Y aún se escucha en la verja:
'¡No le pegue a mi negra!'


An African couple
Slaves of a Spaniard
He treated them very badly,
And hit his Black woman
It was then, that the heroic black man rebelled
He avenged his love
And you can still hear him yelling at the gates:
'Don't hit my black woman!'

4 comments:

  1. "Fascinating, isn't it? That in this country, the black woman is seen as the ultimate "Other Woman", while in a country like Colombia, she's basically "All Women"."

    Fascinating indeed... Love the song.

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  2. Dance steps are just too damn complicated.

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  3. A Beautiful song with deep meaning to it. I also didn't know that the Colombian meaning of "negra" differed than how much of world sees it. That's interesting.

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  4. I also didn't know that the Colombian meaning of "negra" differed than how much of world sees it. That's interesting.

    Nor did I. The things we learn, eh?

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