Posts Tagged ‘Resistiré’

Resistiré – Spain’s Hymn Against Coronavirus

April 5, 2020

A world famous emotional song of encouragement and overcoming, released by Duo Dinámico in 1988, is Spain’s hymn of resistance against the Corona-virus. The original version of Resistiré can be found here.

Here is the translation:

Cuando pierda todas las partidasWhen I’m losing every game

Cuando duerma con la soledadWhen I sleep with loneliness
Cuando se me cierren las salidas
When all exit doors close on me
Y la noche no me deje en paz
And the night doesn’t let me sleep

Cuando sienta miedo del silencioWhen Silence Scares me

Cuando cueste mantenerse en pieWhen it’s hard to stay standing up
Cuando se rebelen los recuerdos
When memories rebel
Y me pongan contra la pared
and put me up against the wall

Resistiré, erguido frente a todoI will resist, proudly face it all
Me volveré de hierro para endurecer la piel
I will turn into iron to thicken my skin
Y aunque los vientos de la vida soplen fuerte
And although life’s headwinds blow strong
Soy como el junco que se dobla,
I’m like the palm tree that bends
Pero siempre sigue en pie
but always stands upright again

Resistiré, para seguir viviendoI will resist to continue living
Soportaré los golpes y jamás me rendiré
I will withstand the punches and never give up
Y aunque los sueños se me rompan en pedazos
And though my dreams may shatter to pieces
Resistiré, resistiré
I will resist, I will resist

Cuando el mundo pierda toda magiaWhen the world loses all its magic
Cuando mi enemigo sea yo
When I’m my own enemy
Cuando me apuñale la nostalgia
When nostalgia stabs me

Y no reconozca ni mi vozAnd I can’t recognize my own voice

Cuando me amenace la locuraWhen insanity threatens me
Cuando en mi moneda salga cruz
When all odds are against me
Cuando el diablo pase la factura
When the Devil comes to be paid,
o Si alguna vez me faltas tu
Or if I ever miss you

The translation above is almost literal. It has a few adaptations to American-English, for example juncos are reeds, but in the U.S. we would usually associate palm trees to being capable of resisting strong winds, not the stem of a plant.

The literal translation of “Cuando el diablo pasa factura” is “when the devil brings the bill.” Pasar factura means when something brings about negative consequences, when things take their toll, or when someone is asking for a favor or services to be paid back. It’s really referring to those times when we’re being too hard on ourselves for something that’s happened in the past. “The Devil to pay” is of course an idiom that can work here.

In order for this translation to have the same impact as this song, it would have to be culturally recreated and also keep its overall meaning. Personally I’ve heard very few songs whose translations are successful. And that’s because song lyrics are usually very elaborate and pertain to a particular country or culture. It’s almost like songs cannot be translated and should always be sung in their original version.

Every night Spaniards across the country go to their balconies to applaud medical workers. Balconies have become a place where Spaniards unite to display solidarity, and a stage for all kinds of performances, including  the song Resistiré.

Duo Dinámico is a pop band founded in the late fifties in Spain by Ramón Arcusa and Manuel de la Calva. The lyrics to the song Resistiré were written by Spanish journalist and composer Carlos Toro and the music by Duo Dinámico’s Manuel de la Calva.

The song was also made famous in Pedro Almodóvar’s 1989 movie “Tie me up, Tie me down,” where it is sang by Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril and Loles León. You can see the clip here.

Resistiré has a recent version interpreted by more than 30 Spanish artists to fight the Coronavirus. Many versions that can be found in youtube performed by artists throughout the Spanish speaking world.

brown and pink concrete buildings

Typical condominium buildings in Spain. Photo by San Fermin Pamplona on

Copyright © 2020 Jorge Luis Carbajosa