There is a markedly different feeling here in Peru that I seldom feel in Canada: pride in one’s country. I often hear: “¡Que viva el Perú! ¡Que viva!” or “¡Arriba Perú!” which loosely translates to “Long Live Peru!” or “Go Peru!” depending on the context. You’ll hear it every time you sing the national anthem, at every sports game, and often in the news to create solidarity.
Sometimes, we also find the same pride for all of Latin America. That’s what shone through in Calle 13′s new single, Latinoamérica, which currently holds the Latin Grammy nomination for Song of the Year. With an introduction in Quechua from a radio station in Cuzco, Peru, these Puerto Rican brothers celebrate what it means to be Latin American, featuring female singers from Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. What’s so beautiful about this work of art is how it presents the true range of faces, experiences, and images you’ll find in Latin America. Peruvians are particularly proud of this short film because many of the shots are from their country, the graffiti artists are Peruvian, and a famous Afro-Peruvian singer, Susana Baca, sings part of the chorus. Calle 13′s Latinoamérica is our Latin America:
Here’s a translation of some of the poetic lyrics of Calle 13′s Latinoamérica:
- Soy el desarrollo en carne viva, un discurso político sin saliva.
[I'm development in the flesh, a political speech without saliva.]
- Soy la sangre dentro de tus venas. Soy un pedazo de tierra que vale la pena.
[I'm the blood in your veins. I'm a piece of land that's worth it.]
- Soy lo que sostiene mi bandera. La espina dorsal del planeta es mi cordillera.
[I'm what supports my flag. The dorsal spine of the planet is my mountain range.]
- Soy lo que me enseño mi padre: “Él que no quiere a su patria no quiere a su madre.”
[I'm what my father taught me: "He who doesn't love his country doesn't love his mother."]
- Tengo los lagos. Tengo los ríos. Tengo mis dientes para cuando me sonrío.
[I have lakes. I have rivers. I have my teeth for when I smile.]
- Tengo mis pulmones respirando azul clarito.
[I have my lungs breathing clear air.]
- Soy las muelas de mi boca mascando coca.
[I'm the molars of my mouth chewing coca.]
- El viento que peina mi cabello. Soy todos los santos que cuelgan de mi cuello.
[The wind that combs my hair. I'm all of the saints that hang from my neck.]
- Trabajo en bruto pero con orgullo. Aquí se comparte. Lo mío es tuyo.
[I work brutally but with pride. Here we share everything. What's mine is yours.]
- Este pueblo no se ahoga con barullo y si se derrumba yo lo reconstruyo.
[This town doesn't drown in disorder and if it collapses, I'll reconstruct it.]
- Tampoco pestañeo cuando te miro para que te acuerdes de mi apellido.
[I don't even blink when I look at you just so you'll remember my name.]
- La operación cóndor invadiendo mi nido. ¡Perdono pero nunca olvido!
[The Operation Condor invading my nest. I forgive, but I never forget!]
The ladies sing in the chorus, “You can’t buy the wind…the sun…the rain…the heat…the clouds…the colors…my happiness…my pain,” speaking to the fact that what is truly valuable isn’t bought with money. And through their lyrics, Calle 13 seeks to demonstrate that what we can be proud of has nothing to do with politics or the economy. It’s about the land and about who we are as humans.
What makes you most proud of your country?