Pedro Navaja Posted by on Jul 20, 2009 in Spanish Culture, Spanish Vocabulary

Remember that song, Mack the Knife, the 1958 classic performed by Bobby Darin? Well, Panamanian singer/songwriter Rubén Blades wrote one of his greatest hits, Pedro Navaja, based on Mack the Knife. It talks about a neighborhood thug who appears to die during a robbery (his song “Sorpresas” continues the story). Here’s some vocabulary so you can understand the story.

Tumbao (tumbado) – rhythm, strut
Guapos – bad boys
Gabán – coat
Pa’ que – so that
Puñal – dagger
Sombrero de ala ancha – wide brim hat
Zapatillas – sneakers
Salir volao (volado) – to flee
Acera – sidewalk
Zaguán – hallway
Darse un trago – to have a drink
Flojo – lazy
To’os (todos) – everyone
Pasar la vista – to look briefly
A la carrera – running
Refunfuñar – to grumble
No hacer pesos – not to make money
Cargar encima –to have something with you (money, gun, etc.)
Irle para encima a alguien – to attack someone
Hundir – to sink; to plunge
De pronto – all of a sudden
Estar salao/salá – to be damned
Aunque – although

Check out the vídeo below and the lyrics here.

Now, would you know how to retell the story of what happened to Pedro Navaja and the woman?

Looking forward to your comments!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. DEREK:

    Fantabulous new addition to the daily page. Thank you, Derek

  2. Adir Ferreira:

    Gracias, Derek!