10 Spanish Songs About Overcoming Obstacles, Adversity, Hard Times, Challenges, and Not Giving Up

Updated on October 4, 2018
Nalini Marquez profile image

Nalini has an ear for curating good music. Chances are she's made (or will eventually make) a list that fits your musical needs.

Choreographed stage tango in Buenos Aires
Choreographed stage tango in Buenos Aires | Source

Music rooted in our cultural backgrounds can help us through the hard times in our lives. Music is one tool that people use to work through difficult emotions. The Latino/a culture has created many incredible songs about overcoming adversity. In order to overcome painful memories, they have taken those memories and turned them into great art. Below you will find songs that remind us to "feel-better," to "keep going," to take in the beauty around us and never forget that "it gets-better." These songs will get you off the ground and on your feet. They will have you dancing, tapping, and overcoming those mountains in no time.

To celebrate this amazing culture, I've created this list of songs about overcoming obstacles Latino style. The list includes lyric excerpts from each of the songs with their corresponding translations. While no translation can ever fully do justice to the original meaning, message, context, and feelings implicit in the original Spanish versions, I've translated the lyrics to try to maintain the integrity of the original language. I've tried to capture the overall message of each song as closely as possible.

These songs are listed in no particular order and are great for those times when the English language is just not enough. So, for those of you who understand Spanish, speak English and Spanish, fall somewhere in between, or have an appreciation of Latin grooves and need a little música to climb that montaña, this one's for you. Eeepa!

Spanish Songs for Overcoming Obstacles

1. "Que Suenan los Tambores"
Victor Manuelle
2. "Pégate"
Ricky Martin
3. "Vivir Mi Vida"
Marc Anthony
4. "Creo en Mi"
Natalia Jiménez
5. "La Vida es un Carnaval"
Celia Cruz
6. "Llama al Sol"
Tito El Bambino
7. "Echa Pa'lla"
Pitbull featuring Papayo
8. "Que Suenan Los Tambores"
Victor Manuelle
9. "Vivo La Vida"
Olga Tañon
10. "Madre Tierra (Oye)"

#1. "Que Suenan Los Tambores"—Victor Manuelle

¡Que suenen los tambores!

Ay no te desesperes y ten paciencia

Que todo en la vida viene

No se trata de velocidad, si no resistencia

Para lograr lo que se quiere

Let the drums sound!

Don't despair and have patience

Everything in life comes

It's not about velocity, but resistance

To reach what one wants.

— Victor Manuelle, "Que Suenan Los Tambores" (English translation)

#2. "Pégate"—Ricky Martin

Pa'l dolor pa'l mal de amores

Nada como el repique de mis tambores

Que hay que tirarse a la calle dejando atras los problemas

Que como decia mi madre bailando todo se arregla.

For the pain, for love problems

There's nothing like the ringing of my drums

Have to throw oneself to the street leaving problems behind

Like my mother said, everything is fixed with dancing.

— Ricky Martin, "Pégate" (English translation)

#3. "Vivir Mi Vida"—Marc Anthony

Y para qué llorar, pa' qué

Si duele una pena, se olvida

Y para qué sufrir, pa' qué

Si así es la vida, hay que vivirla, la la lé

Voy a reír, voy a bailar

Vivir mi vida la la la la

Voy a reír, voy a gozar

Vivir mi vida la la la la


And why cry? For what?

If a sorrow hurts, it is forgotten

And why suffer? For what?

That's how life is. You have to live it.

I'm going to laugh, I'm going to dance

Live my life, la la la la

I'm going to laugh, I'm going to enjoy

Live my life la la la la

That's it!

— Marc Anthony, "Vivir Mi Vida" (English translation)

#4. "Creo En Mi"—Natalia Jiménez

Ya me han dicho que soy buena para nada

Y que el aire que respiro esta de más

Me han clavado en la pared contra la espada

He perdido hasta las ganas de llorar

Pero estoy de vuelta estoy de pie y bien alerta

Eso del cero a la izquierda no me va

Ouh ouh oh

Creo creo creo en mí

Ouh ouh oh

Creo creo creo en mí

They've already told me that I'm good for nothing

And that I take up [respire] too much air

They've nailed me to the wall against my back

I've lost even the desire to cry

But I'm back, I'm on my feet, and I'm very alert

Being a nobody's not for me

Ouh ouh oh

I believe in myself

Ouh ouh oh

I believe in myself

— Natalia Jiménez, "Creo En Mi" (English translation)

#5. "La Vida es Un Carnaval"—Celia Cruz

Todo aquel

Que piense que la vida es desigual

Tiene que saber que no es así

Que la vida es una hermosura

Hay que vivirla


Ay, no hay que llorar (No hay que llorar)

Que la vida es un carnaval

Que es más bello vivir cantando

Oh oh oh ay, no hay que llorar (No hay que llorar)

Que la vida es una carnaval

Y las penas se van cantando

To everyone

Who thinks that life is unequal

You have to know that it's not like that

That life is a beauty

You have to live it


Ay there's no need to cry (no need to cry)

Life is a carnival

It's more beautiful to live singing

Oh oh oh ay, there's no need to cry (no need to cry)

Life is a carnival

And the sorrows go singing.

— Celia Cruz, "La Vida es Un Carnaval" (English translation)

#6. "Llama al Sol"—Tito El Bambino

Hoy ya no hay lluvia

Salió el sol ya no llorare por ti

Y hoy llama a luna

Y de favor te pido que llame al sol

Que se seque la lluvia y entre el calor

Que se esconda la luna mientras salga el sol

Que quede claro que no llorare

Y menos por una estrella que fuga se fue

Today there is no longer rain

The sun came out and I will not cry for you

And today the moon calls

And as a favor I ask that it calls the sun

That the rain dries and that the heat comes in

That the moon hides while the sun comes out

That it is clear, that I will not cry

And even less so for a star whose gas has gone.

— Tito El Bambino, "Llama al Sol" (English translation)

#7. "Echa Pa'lla"—Pitbull featuring Papayo

Echa pa'lla, todo lo malo echa pa'lla

Say with me

Echa pa'lla, todo lo malo echa pa'lla

Say loud

Echa pa'lla, todo lo malo echa pa'lla

Say louder

Echa pa'lla, todo lo malo echa pa'lla

Throw it that way, all that is bad, throw it it that way

Say with me

Throw it that way, all that is bad, throw it it that way

Say loud

Throw it that way, all that is bad, throw it it that way

Say louder

Throw it that way, all that is bad, throw it it that way

— Pitbull featuring Papayo, "Echa Pa'lla" (English translation)

#8. "Como Se Sufre Se Baila"—Pedro Alonso

No le tengas miedo

A comenzar de cero

Si quieres vivir tu sueño

Tienes que aceptar el reto

Es una batalla diaria

El que no arriesga no gana

Vivamos con alegría

Bailando todo se sana

Ay Dios

No te me mojes la cara

No te la mojes

Deja ya la tristeza

Como se sufre se baila

Don't be afraid

Of having to start from zero

If you want to live your dream

You have to accept the challenge

It's a daily battle

He[/she] who risks nothing, gains nothing

Let's live with happiness

Dancing cures everything

Oh God

Don't wet your face

Don't wet it

Leave the sadness

How one suffers, one dances.

— Pedro Alonso, "Como Se Sufre Se Baila" (English translation)

#9. "Vivo La Vida"—Olga Tañon

Vivo la vida bailando

Las penas olvidando

Hay fiesta en los corazones

La música

Las penas quitan del alma

I live life dancing

Sorrows are forgotten

There is a party in hearts

The music

Sorrows are taken from the soul.

— Olga Tañon,

#10. "Madre Tierra (Oye)"—Chayanne

Debes brindar amor para después pedir

Hay que perdonar para poder seguir

Recuerda que tenemos sólo un viaje de ida

Y hay que darle gracias siempre a la vida

A la vida, a la vida


Abre tus ojos

Mira hacia arriba

Disfruta las cosas buenas que tiene la vida

Abre tus ojos

Mira hacia arriba

Disfruta las cosas buenas que tiene la vida

Lalala lalala lala

Lalala lalala lala

Lalala lalala lala

Lalala lalala lala

You should give love to later be able to ask

You have to forgive to be able to follow

Remember that we only have one trip of departure

And we have to always give thanks to life

To life, to life


Open your eyes

Look up

Enjoy the good things that life has

Open your eyes

Look up

Enjoy the good things that life has

Lalala lalala lala

Lalala lalala lala

Lalala Lalala lala

Lalala lalala lala

— Chayanne, "Madre Tierra (Oye)" (English translation)

Are you ready to dance your problems away?

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    © 2016 Nalini Marquez


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