Sunday, May 23, 2010

Los Tigres del Norte: La Granja

SONG La Granja (The Farm)

WRITTEN BY Teodoro Bello

PERFORMED BY Los Tigres del Norte

APPEARS ON La Granja (2009)

NOTE See David Ortez' blog The Revolution Will Not Be Televised for an excellent analysis of "La Granja" that includes a detailed explanation of the characters in the video. The English translation of the lyrics is also from Ortez' article.

The May 24 issue of The New Yorker includes an insightful article (abstract here) about the wildly popular Mexican norteno band, Los Tigres del Norteno. Los Tigres specialize in performing corridos, songs about life on either of the border that retell actual incidents. As many as 120,000 people witnessed a Los Tigres concert in Monterrey, Mexico, and their show in Houston's Astrodome drew more fans than the Beatles in Shea Stadium.

"La Granja" is a narcocorrido, meaning that its lyrics specifically deal with the issue of narcotics smuggling.  Like all corridos, "La Granja" relies on symbolism and hidden meaning. The video below provides an animated accompaniment to the lyrics. As Wilkinson explains in his article, the farmer represents the worker whose efforts feed the wealthy, as represented by the Animal Farm-like pigs who reside in the protection indoors. The worker stays outside exposed to the elements and to the dangers of the narcotics cartel, represented by the snarling dog who breaks loose from his chains when offered a meal by the fox.

The fox is one of two allusions to Mexican political figures; it represents former president Vicente Fox. According to Wilkinson, the fox tries to steal the dog's dinner, but in the video they seem to be in cahoots. Another possible interpretation is that the efforts of a well-intentioned politician "who arrived to break plates" backfired. According to David Ortez at The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, the crashing hawk recreates the death of Juan Camilo Mouriño Terrazo, a politician who died in a mysterious small plane crash.

With the narcotics cartel at his back, the farmer flees to the border across a barren land of desert and bones, its plenty destroyed by the cartel, In the end, though, a border fence crashing into place foils his flight. Abandoned by all, the farmer turns to face the slavering beast with only a tiger (Los Tigres themselves) standing by him.

LYRICS (Spanish)
Si la perra esta amarrada
Aunque ladre todo el día
No la deben de soltar
Mi abuelito me decía
Que podrían arrepentirse
Los que no la conocían

Por el zorro lo supimos
Que llego a romper los platos
Y la cuerda de la perra
La mordió por un buen rato
Y yo creo que se soltó
Para armar un gran relajo

Los puerquitos le ayudaron
Se alimentan de la granja
Diario quieren más maíz
Y se pierden las ganancias
Y el granjero que trabaja
Ya no les tiene confianza

Se cayó un gavilán
Los pollitos comentaron
Que si se cayó solito
O los vientos lo tumbaron
Todos mis animalitos
Por el ruido se espantaron

El conejo esta muriendo
Dentro y fuera de la jaula
Y a diario hay mucho muerto
A lo largo de la granja
Porque ya no hay sembradíos
Como ayer con tanta alfalfa

En la orilla de la granja
Un gran cerco les pusieron
Para que sigan jalando
Y no se vaya el granjero
Porque la perra no muerde
Aunque el no este de acuerdo

Hoy tenemos día con día
Mucha inseguridad
Porque se soltó la perra
Todo lo vino a regar
Entre todos los granjeros
La tenemos que amarrar……

LYRICS (English)
If the dog is tied up
And it barks all day
You should not let it go
That is what my Grandfather would tell me
Those would regret it
That did not know her

We found out from the Fox
Who arrived to break plates
And the dog’s leash
The Fox bit for a good while
And I believe it has been freed
To create a big mess

The piggies helped out
They feed themselves from the farm
Daily they want more corn
And they lose the profits
And the farmer that works
Does not trust them anymore

A hawk has fallen
The chicks are asking
Did it fall by itself?
Or did the winds bring it down?
All my animal friends
Were frightened by the noise

The rabbit is dying
While inside and outside of the cage
And daily there are many dead
All over the Farm
Because there are no crops
Like there was yesterday with so much hay.

On the edge of the Farm
A big fence was built
So that they have to continue to work
And the farmer cannot leave
Because the dog is biting him
Even though he does not agree

Now we have day by day
More insecurity
Because the dog has been unleashed
And messed up everything
Amidst all the farmers
We have to tie her down.


  1. I've always loved norteño (well, you know me and accordions! heh, heh), and I've been a fan of Los Tigres del Norte for quite a while now. I hadn't heard this new one though. Very interesting way to approach the issue. But then Los Tigres have always had a way with approaching current issues. Good pick for a Just A Song pick!

  2. I am ashamed to admit that I wasn't familiar with them. My stepmother is, though. I read The New Yorker article last weekend while in South Texas; she was pleased to hear that they had reached such rarefied heights (or maybe that they were willing to do a little slumming).

    Which, in a complete non sequitur, reminds me of Robert Mitchum's description of prison: Palm Beach without the riffraff.

  3. Great song on several levels--really enjoyed this.

  4. Sad to say but this is life, and this a GREAT song that really tells the truth on what is going on in this world.

  5. The link should be updated to reflect the following URL:

  6. More Los Tigres here:

  7. The dog must be leashed or shot.