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Angelitos negros (English translation)

English translationEnglish

Black little angels

Painter, born in my country
with the foreign paint brush,
painter, following the direction
of so many old painters.
Although the Virgin may be white
paint black little angels for me,
cause they go to heaven too
all the good little black angels.
Painter, if you paint whith love,
why do you despise your colour,
when you know, that in heaven
God wants them too.
Painter of saints of the bedroom,
if you have got a soul in the body,
why have you in painting your paintings
forgotten black people.
Everytime, when you paint churches,
you paint beautiful angels,
but never you remembered
to paint a black angel.
Everytime, when you paint churches,
you paint beautiful angels,
but never you remembered
to paint a black angel.
thanked 72 times
Submitted by WassermannWassermann on 2013-07-21
Added in reply to request by roster 31roster 31
Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Angelitos negros

Translations of "Angelitos negros"
English Wassermann
Collections with "Angelitos negros"
Antonio Machín : Top 3
roster 31roster 31    Sun, 21/07/2013 - 14:04

Hi, Wasserman! You were fast in doing this. Good job! Thank you very much.

I would like to make a couple comments:
*Second stanza, third and fourth verses - I think there is an unnecessary repetition, "they go"/ "all the". I rather see something like, "'cause also go to heavens all the good..."
*Third stanza - In my opinion (in this context), "...que en el cielo también los quiere Dios", would be, "God WANTS them too".
*Four stanza, third verse - I would say, "in painting your paintings"

This is my opinion. Your interpretation or way of expression is all yours.

roster 31roster 31    Mon, 20/01/2014 - 00:59

Very good, Wasserman! And thank you for taking my comments in consideration.

esperanto41esperanto41    Fri, 04/12/2015 - 05:35

The video is Machin, but he is not the composer. The song is by Manuel Álvarez (Maciste), as adapted from a poem by Andrés Eloy Blanco. The original longer poem is here:

The Maciste version is here: note its original punctuation: (avoid the automatic translation!)

An Eartha Kitt YouTube in English here: — an amazing live performance.

Her equally good Spanish version is also on YouTube with stills, e.g.

Also, an Esperanto Karaoke YouTube is here:

PS: For additional comments about this song, see

Update 2015-12-04: There is an even better Esperanto version by singer-translater Emmanuel Rovere:

There is also a YouTube of Eartha Kitt's 1953 version, with its [Spanish] lyrics included as subtitles:

A reading (by Antonio Rodriguez Muñoz) of the longer Andrés Eloy Blanco poem, with text-pages, is here:

roster 31roster 31    Mon, 20/01/2014 - 00:52

Hola Wassermann!. I am surprised to find this here now, at this late date. I don't remember when I requested or evaluated this translation. I am surprised also to see that I gave you two stars when I am telling you it is a good translation. I guess that, in those days, when I started this business, I didn't know the value of the stars. I am now raising them.
Thanks for all the information. I only knew Machin's version.
Un saludo!

michealtmichealt    Tue, 31/05/2016 - 13:01

This is a very good translation, but there's one clear error or meaning and several rather un-English expressions.

In the fourth staza, the word "alcoba" does have the sense "dormitorio", but an older sense of the word: "nicho"(in a church) or "terullio" (in a playhouse); in a church, that would be a side chapel dedicated to a particular saint. The English word "alcove" would be a better representation of that in the translation ("side chapel" has the wrong rythm, as would "capilla lateral" which, for all I know, may be why "alcoba" was used).

In the same stanza, the word order in the 3rd and 4th lines seems more English in the original Spanish that it is in the translation, and after "painting" as a participle having the next but one word be "painting" as a noun doesn't sound very nice. So perhaps "then why, in painting your pictures, did you forget the black people?" ("then" doesn't actually change the meaning here, but it does help the rythm).

In both occurences of the last stanza you begin with "Everytime, when"; most native English speakers should understand that, but they would never say it - you can have "Every time you ..." or "Always when you ..." or "Every time that you..." (and each of the first and second of those phrases is used far more often than the third). I would be very surprised if there were even a single use of "Everytime, when" in the Oxford corpus (currently a few billion words).
Also, the third line of the last stanza has unEnglish word order - "never you remembered" should be one of "never did you remember" or "you never remembered".

One minor point - more style than translation; "Little black angels" sounds better that "Black little angels" (the latter sounds much less approving of the angels) so ideally the title should be changed and so should the second line of the second stanza.

There's a typing error in first line of the stanza, there should be only one "h" in "with".

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