1. Pelaste el Cobre | Jorge Velosa y los Carrangueros | Revolando en Cuadro | 1994


  2. Hello comrades / followers / friends, welcome back! If this is your first time to my page, this post is part of an ongoing segment featuring a song from the Latin American revolutionary and folk music traditions. If you’d like to check out some past episodes, click here.

    Today we’re going to move from Nicaragua south to Colombia, and listen to a song made by guerrillas from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito Popular (FARC-EP). A few years ago the FARC released a few albums for free on their website, but they have since been taken down (at least the last time I checked). Good thing I downloaded them beforehand! If you look around though, you can still find the albums through sites like Taringa.

    Disclaimer: My posting and translation of this song is for strictly academic purposes, and should in no way be construed by any US government agency as support for the FARC-EP, material or immaterial.

    While this isn’t the place to discuss the politics or strategy of the FARC, we definitely can discuss the factors that influence their music. While their songs as an entirety seem to feature a wide array of genres and styles (cumbia, salsa, corrido, son), the majority are heavily influenced by traditional vallenato sounds. Vallenato, for those of you that aren’t aware, is a form of Colombian folk music recognizable by its strong emphasis on the accordion. While the genre’s origins are from the northeastern region of the country, the FARC’s stronghold is in the south. Nevertheless, it is one of the most popular genres in the country, putting forward such artists as Carlos Vives and Jorge Celedon.

    In addition to the influence of vallenato, there is also a notable influence of carranga, a form of campesino music native to central Colombia’s Andean region. Carranga is a more string-heavy genre than vallenato, featuring extensive use of the requinto guitar (popularly recognized in the US as the main instrument of bachata). It tends to feature themes and motifs relating to the struggle of campesinos, and has thus had less mainstream exposure. If you want to hear this genre for yourself (which I suggest), check out the music of Jorge Velosa.

    There are a few musicians within the guerrilla who are named and promoted on such a basis, including Julian Conrado (pictured), Lucas Iguaran, and Horizonte Fariano. Horizonte Fariano is notable here for using a more carranga-influenced sound than the others. The rest of the organization’s musicians, such as the artists of this song, remain anonymous and operate under the generic name Los Companeros de las FARC-EP.

    This particular song raises the banner of Simon Bolivar, a common theme in left-wing music of Colombia and Venezuela, and denounces exploitation of the people of Latin America. There will be a couple links within the English lyrics leading to Wikipedia articles for context and clarification.

    Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the song. I transliterated and translated the lyrics to the best of my ability, but there are a couple words that I have to confess to guessing since there aren’t any lyrics available online. Feedback, questions and suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Thanks!


    Guerrilleras y guerrilleros del bloque central,
    Adán Izquierdo está presente!

    No hay patria sin libertad
    nos dice el Libertador,
    la venía ante el opresor
    humilla a la humanidad

    No hay vida sin dignidad,
    nos dice con ardentía
    y a su ejemplo, nuestra guía,
    hermanos y guerrilleros
    que luchamos con esmero
    contra cualquier tiranía

    Y no hay patria, y no hay patria,
    no hay patria sin libertad
    La justicia es el nombre
    de la verdadera paz!

    La vida no vale nada
    si no es como un manantial
    que se vierte natural
    para hacer la patria amada

    Por la América explotada
    por los pobres de la tierra,
    en el llano y en la sierra
    y en las variadas urbanas
    somos almas con cananas
    contra el déspoto y la guerra


    La libertad y la paz
    es la invencible bandera
    y alumbra la tierra entera
    desde el sol de Sumapaz

    Sin justicia no habrá paz,
    como lo enseña Manuel
    No hay paz que el imperio cruel
    existe nuestra opresion
    con Bolívar es la unión
    en la lucha sin cuartel



    Guerrillas of the Central Bloc,
    Adan Izquierdo is present!

    There is no homeland without freedom,
    that’s what the Liberator says
    Confronting the oppressor
    humbles humanity

    There is no life without dignity,
    he says with fire in his heart
    And his example is our guide,
    brothers and guerrillas
    We fight with dedication
    Against any tyranny

    And there’s no homeland, there’s no homeland,
    there is no homeland without freedom
    Justice is the name
    of the true peace!

    Life is not worth anything
    if it is not like a fountain,
    that flows naturally
    to create our beloved country

    For our exploited America,
    for the poor of the Earth,
    in the plains and in the mountains
    and in the various cities
    We are souls with holsters
    fighting against despotism and war


    Freedom and peace
    are the invincible flag
    which illuminates all the land
    from the sun of Sumapaz

    Without justice there won’t be peace,
    like Manuel teaches us
    There is no peace because the cruel empire
    creates our oppression
    With Bolivar we have unity
    in the relentless struggle