Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In which I force myself to write because I haven't written in a month and there's NO excuse for that...

Last night Jason was working on a project for Spanish I and I assisted him by helping to pick out some songs that he could play during his presentation on "Música Hispana". For the portion of the presentation on tango, I chose a fairly well-known instrumental recording of "Por Una Cabeza".

As I listened to the beautiful and dramatic melody, I began wondering about the strange title. Por Una Cabeza. Here is how I originally broke it down, by way of my barely passable Spanish skills:

Por = For
Una = A
Cabeza = Head

What could this song be about? My imagination ran with it. My favorite theory was the story of a lonely headsman with a shiny, unused guillotine in a crimeless region in France.

Upon looking up an English translation of the lyrics, however, I was reminded that "por" often means "by way of" or just "by". So, the song title is actually By A Head, and compares a man's addiction to gambling on horse races to his addiction to women.

I like my translation better.

1 comment:

Noel said...

Too bad the title isn't "Por Una Cerveza" and conveyed the songwriter's pining for beer.

I prefer your translation if only for the fact that when I imagine horse races "My Fair Lady" springs to mind.
"Move your bloomin' arse!"