Originally released in 2001 as track number five on Lila Downs’ Border/La Linea album, this poetry of song was written by Lila herself and Mr. Paul Cohen of BMI Records. The song La Niña (The Young Girl) was dedicated to the maquiladora workers of Mexico by its authors. It went on appear as one of the title tracks for the movie Real Women Have Curves starring America Ferrera, of Ugly Betty fame, and Lupe Ontiveros, Selena the movie and Desperate Housewives, in 2002.
The lyrics are simple and poignant, and there is one scene in the movie with Lupe Ontiveros and this song that always makes me want to tear up.
I’ve translated the song from its original Spanish to English in my own words, since I did not really agree with the Label’s translated version.
The Young Girl
From early morning, the young girl prays,
So that her day won’t be so long
And with the light of dawn,
She organizes her errands,
She closes her eyes to not see,
That in the mirror she is noticing
That her work is wearing her out
And it’s because her Saint is resting
All of the days, All of the hours,
In that lather of her sadness,
Nails and meat, sweat and effort,
All of her willpower, all of her dreams,
Are being left behind in her memories,
In the memory of her desires
Oh long haired sad face, Rosa Maria
Searching you spend your days and nights for a way out
That one Sunday will change your hell for happiness.
The sweatshop will one day only be a memory
And the harvest your own fruit will be one day,
Will be one day.
That your bosses will repent one day,
And that humility will become pride one day
And that you will be the same as everyone else one day,
Will be one day.