Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jaula de Oro (The Golden Cage)


Los Tigres del Norte is a Mexican-American band that has been making music since the 1960s.  Their songs are often about the real-life struggle of Latin Americans.  On Cinco de Mayo, my friend Mondo introduced me to a song called "Jaula de Oro" or The Golden Cage, which tells a familiar story about a father who moves illegally to America from Mexico to seek a better life for his family, but struggles under a system that isolates him from society and his family.  It is folk music in the best sense of the word, telling a story of a real person with a real struggle that is emblematic of a larger struggle.  Here's the song, followed by an English translation of the lyrics.  Viva Los Tigres del Norte (Tigers of the North)!
The Golden Cage 
by Los Tigres del Norte
I'm established here
In the United States
Ten years have passed
Since I crossed as a "wetback"
With no proper documents
I'm still an illegal
I have my wife and children
Whom I brought when they were young
And they've already forgotten
My beloved Mexico
Which I can never forget
And cannot return to
What's money good for
If I live like a prisoner
In this great nation
When I'm reminded of this, I cry
Although this cage is made of gold
It's still a prison
Listen son,
Would you like to go back and live in Mexico?
"What are you talking about dad?
I don't want to go back to Mexico,
No way dad."
My kids don't speak to me
They've learned another language
And they've forgotten Spanish
They think like Americans
They deny that they're Mexicans
Though they have my skin color
From work to my house
I don't know what's going on with me
Although I'm the head of the household
I almost never go out
Because I'm afraid that they'll catch me
And deport me
What's money good for
If I live like a prisoner
In this great nation
When I'm reminded of this, I cry
Although this cage is made of gold
It's still a prison

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