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Argentina, Latin Popular, Rock, Spanish (Español/Castellano)

“Flaca” (Andrés Calamaro)

Country: ARGENTINA
Language: SPANISH (ESPAÑOL)
Genre: ROCK, LATIN POP
Album: ALTA SUCIEDAD (1997)

Guitar Chords:
G  B7  Em  C  G  D7  G  (D7)

“FLACA”

Flaca, no me claves
tus puñales, por la espalda
tan profundo, no me duelen
no me hacen mal

Lejos, en el centro
de la tierra, las raíces
del amor, donde estaban
quedarán

Entre “no me olvides”
me dejé nuestros abriles olvidados,
en el fondo del placard del cuarto de invitados
eran tiempos dorados, un pasado mejor

Aunque casi me equivoco y te digo poco a poco
no me mientas, no me digas la verdad
no te quedes callada no levantes la voz
ni me pidas perdón

Aunque casi te confieso
yo tambien he sido un perro compañero, un perro ideal
que aprendio a ladrar  y a volver al hogar
para poder comer

“SKINNY” (Translation by ORS, 2010)

Skinny, don’t you stab me
with your daggers in my back
so deep, they don’t hurt me
they don’t do me any harm

Far, in the center
of the earth, the roots
of love, where they used to be
will remain

Among the “forget-me-nots”
I left our Aprils forgotten
in the back of the closet in the guest room
those were golden times, a better past

Although I’m almost wrong and I tell you little by little
don’t lie to me, don’t tell me the truth
don’t stay quiet, don’t raise your voice
and don’t even ask my pardon

Even though I’m almost confessing to you,
I’ve also been a pet dog, an ideal dog
that learned to bark and to return home
to be able to eat

Vocabulary and Etymology

1.  Flaco – (adj) skinny, weak; can be used as a term of endearment like gordo (chubby); from Latin flaccidus (flaccid, limp), related to Portuguese fraco (weak), Italian fiacco (weak)

2.  Clavar – (verb) to stick, poke, hammer, nail; from Latin clavus (a nail) and related words meaning to “nail” (noun and verb)  and “clove”: Spanish un clavo, French un clou (clouer), Italian chiodo (inchiodare).  In Portuguese, cravo refers to the herb “clove”, while prego is a nail used with a hammar. 

3.  Puñal – (masc. noun) a dagger; from Latin pugnus (fist) and pungere (to pierce, stick); Related to words for “fist” : French le poing, Italian il pugno, Spanish el puño, Portuguese o punho.  Also related to English words pungent (having a piercing odor/taste), poignant (piercing or painful), and pugnacious (combative).

4.  Nomeolvides – flowering plant of genus Myosotis (Greek “mouse ear”) whose common name “Forget-me-not” is a calque of French ne m’oubliez pas.

5.  Placard (masc noun) – closet, wardrobe.  This is a tricky word because the English “placard” (from the Dutch placken, “to patch a garment”) refers to something plastered, like a sealed official document or a poster.  This is also related to words for “plaque” which forms on the teeth: French la plaque, Italian la placca, Spanish la placa/el sarro, Portuguese la placa.

6.  Hogar (masc noun) – home, hearth.  Unique Spanish word to used refer to the abstract concept of a “home”, but also refers physically to a hearth or fireplace.    A rare synonym of hogar in Spanish is lar (also in Portuguese), which is derived from the Latin name of Roman household deities Lares.

Grammar

1.  Negative Commands

This song uses a few informal 2nd person negative commands (especially in 2nd part of the verse), usually translated in English as “don’t (you)…”.  In Spanish, this form of command is constructed using the Subjunctive Conjugation: if the verb infintive ends in -ar, the 2nd person negative command will use an -er ending, and if the verb is -er/-ir, the command will use the -ar ending.  Here is the first example in the chorus:

“no me claves”    :   “Don’t (you) stick me”

If we look at the infitive of the verb clavar “to stick”, we see it is an -ar ending verb.  Fortunatley it is a regular verb, so the 2nd person indicative is tú clavas, and the subjunctive form thus takes the -er ending in tú claves.  

Other examples in the song, with the infinitive in parenthesis, some irregular in conjugation:

no me mientas (mentir “to lie”, irregular)
no me digas la verdad (decir “to say/tell”, irregular)
no te quedes callada (quedar “to stay/remain”, regular)
no levantes la voz (levantar “to raise/lift”, regular)
ni (no) me pidas perdón (pedir “to ask/order”, irregular)

2.  Dejar(se) :  Forget, Stop, and Drop

Similar to the Portuguese deixar, the verb dejarse in Spanish can be tricky for language learners.  Apart from the basic function “to let” or “to allow”, there are 3 main applications of this verb: 1) to forget something, 2) to stop doing something, and 3) to drop something.

In this song “Flaca”, Calamaro gives an example of the first application, to forget.  He says “me dejé nuestros abriles olvidados en el placard”, meaning “I forgot our forgotten Aprils in the closet”, or more literally “I left myself our forgotten Aprils in the closet”.   The tricky part is remembering that the verb in Spanish is reflexive , so you can say “yo me dejo” or just “me dejo”.

The second application of dejarse, to stop doing something, requires the preposition de (“of”) and is usually in the form of a 2nd person command, telling something “stop doing…”.   This application is related to the basic function of dejar which means “to let/leave”, but by adding the preposition, the verb changes from permission (“letting”) to force (“stopping”).  A good example is the phrase déjate de tonterías which is 2nd person command meaning “stop the nonsense” or “no more crazy talk”, but literally “leave/stop yourself of stupid things”.

The third application, to drop , is actually the idiom dejar caer, meaning to “let fall”, more or less intentionally or absentmindedly (as opposed to “making something fall” using the verb “to do” hacer caer).  Here is how to say “to drop” in other related languages:

French : laisser (faire) tomber
Italian : lasciare (fare) cadere
Portuguese : deixar (fazer) cair

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Discussion

2 thoughts on ““Flaca” (Andrés Calamaro)

  1. Wow thank you for this I learned a lot!

    Posted by Natalie | September 4, 2012, 12:11 pm
  2. Learning to play and sing the song. I was plugging the verses and such into an auto translator…what a waste of time!! This really cleared up the true meaning for me and now I can sing with a little more conviction!! Thank you!!

    Posted by Doc | June 28, 2013, 12:36 am

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