18 “Canción sin miedo” (2020) by Vivir Quintana and El palomar—Feminicides

Before the song

1. The theme of this song is violence against women. In small group, discuss the following questions: What modes of violence against women can happen? Do you remember any recent case of violence against women in the media? What common elements can be identified in those cases? Do you think that violence against women is an issue that concerns society now? Why?

2. The word feminicida (femicide) is key in the song. What does this word mean? In your opinion, how does the listener´s perspective change if they hear “femicide” instead of “violence against women”? Discuss these questions with your classmates. Then read the description of feminicidio (femicide) below and comment about what strikes you most in the definition.


In her report for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights in Mexico, jurist Patsilí Toledo Vásquez explains that the legal concepts of feminicidio and femicidio (femicide) emerged with force in the feminist literature in the 1990s to highlight: a) a sexist basis in numerous deaths of women that was hidden by the apparently neutral concept of homicidio, and b) the responsibility of the government in these deaths for how they were investigated and judged (13).[1]

Toledo quotes Jane Caputi and Diana Russell, pioneers in using the term femicide in their studies, to present the breadth of the concept. Here it is rendered the English original quote:

Femicide is on the extreme end of a continuum of antifemale terror that includes a wide variety of verbal and physical abuse, such as rape, torture, sexual slavery (particularly in prostitution), incestuous and extrafamilial child sexual abuse, physical and emotional battery, sexual harassment (on the phone, in the streets, at the office, and in the classroom), genital mutilation (clitoridectomies, excision, infibulations), unnecessary gynecological operations (gratuitous hysterectomies), forced heterosexuality, forced sterilization, forced motherhood (by criminalizing contraception and abortion), psychosurgery, denial of food to women in some cultures, cosmetic surgery, and other mutilations in the name of beautification. Whenever these forms of terrorism result in death, they become femicides (en Caputi and Russell 15).

3. In recent years, feminist movements in Latin America have resurfaced with force. These groups denounce violence against women and use art as a tool for social change. For instance, Vivir Quintana is a young Mexican singer and songwriter who fights against patriarchal violence through her songs. One of those songs is “Canción sin miedo.” Read this interview and watch this video on Vivir Quintana´s life and music and answer the questions. Discuss your answers with your classmates.

3.1. How did the idea of writing “Canción sin miedo” come about? Where was it sung for the first time? How was this live music experience according to Vivir?

3.2. How does Vivir´s personal and family history influence her interest in music and women´s equality?

3.3. Vivir says in the interview, “Yo quisiera que esta canción ya no se volviera a cantar nunca” (“I wish this song would never be sung again.”). And also, “Yo digo que esta canción ya no es mía, que esta canción es de todas las compañeras” (“I think that this song is no longer mine, that this song belongs to all the women”). What does Vivir mean by these comments? What is her view of music? Other artists consider that music should not be mixed with social problems. With what view do you agree most? Why? Do you know any example of music that addresses social issues? What issues do they talk about? With what perspective are these issues addressed?


Song and music video  

4. Listen the song and watch the music video on YouTube. You can also listen to the live version of the song in the Zócalo in Mexico D.F.

5. Below you have a translation of the lyrics.

May the State, the skies, the streets tremble
May the judges and the police tremble
Today, women´s calm is taken away
They scared us, we grew wings.

Every minute of every week
They steal our friends, they kill our sisters
They destroy their bodies, they disappear them
Please, don’t forget their names, Mr. President.

For all those women marching in Reforma
For all the women fighting in Sonora
For the comandantas fighting for Chiapas
For all the mothers looking in Tijuana,

We sing without fear, we ask for justice
We scream for every missing
Shout loud: “we want us alive!”
Will the feminicida (woman killer) fall hard!

I burn everything, I break everything
If one day some guy closes your eyes
Nothing keeps me quiet anymore

I burn everything,  I break everything

If one day some guy closes your eyes
Nothing keeps me quiet anymore
I already have enough
If they touch one of use, we all respond.
I am Claudia, I am Esther and I am Teresa
I´m Ingrid, I´m Fabiola and I´m Valeria
I am the girl that you forced
I am the mother who now cries for her dead women,
And I´m the one who will make you pay your debts.

¡Justice!, ¡Justice!, ¡Justice!!

For all those women marching in Reform
For all the women fighting in Sonora
For the comandantas fighting for Chiapas
For all the mothers looking in Tijuana


We sing without fear, we ask for justice
We scream for every missing
Shout loud: “we want us alive!”
Will the feminicida (woman killer) fall hard!
Will the feminicida (woman killer) fall hard!


to the sisterly roar of love
And will the Earth tremble at its center
To the sisterly roar of love.


After listening to the song  

In groups of three or four, answer the questions below to know more about the themes in the song. Share your answers with the rest of the class.

6. This song highlights the concept of community and, through it, the message of solidarity between women (sororidad, sisterhood). Several elements in the song help to emphasize that communal dimension. Answer the following questions to find them out: alongside the individual voice of Vivir Quintana, what collective voice participates in the song? What is the most common pronoun used in the song and to whom does it refer? What community, what group is this song dedicated to?

7. Right in the middle of the song, the individual voice speaks strongly in the form of the pronoun “I.” However, it is an individual voice that takes different names: “I am Claudia, I am Esther and I am Teresa.” What does this “multiple I” convey? Does it reinforce or dilute the message of solidarity with the group?

8. The tone of the composition is angry. What words and expressions in the song contribute to this tone? Do you think the tone is in line with the theme? Why? Against whom is the anger of the text addressed? Anger and belligerence are not traits commonly associated with women in the media: what effects may the song have if it breaks this “norm”?

9. The song concludes with an almost literal reference to the Mexican national anthem. National anthems emphasize group identity and the defense of the group against other groups. From this perspective, “Canción sin miedo” could be understood as an anthem, although not for a national group. Who is this anthem for? However, the song modifies some words from the national anthem. Compare the stanzas below and highlight those differences. What ideas and values do those changes in the song convey?

Song Anthem
And will the Earth tremble at its center

to the sisterly roar of love

And will the Earth tremble at its center

To the sisterly roar of love.

Mexicans, at the cry of war,

assemble the steel and the bridle,

and the Earth shall tremble to its center,

to the resounding roar of the cannon.

Final assignment

10. Listen to another song that addresses the theme of violence in family and personal relations. Compare it with Vivir Quintana´s song on the following: vocabulary, tone, theme approach to the theme, etc. Present your findings to your classmates.

More songs:


“Andrés Manuel López Obrador.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrés_Manuel_López_Obrador. 1 Feb. 2021.

Caputi, Jane and Diana E. H. Russell. “Femicide: Sexism Terrorism against Women.” Femicide. The Politics of Woman Killing. Edited by Jill Radford and Diana E. H. Russell. Twayne, 1992, pp. 13-21.

Carrión, María Luisa. “Vivir Quintana por ‘Canción sin miedo’: ‘Yo digo que ya no es mía, que es de todas las compañeras que no están,’” CNN Chile, 27 Aug. 2020, www.cnnchile.com/cultura/vivir-quintana-cancion-sin-miedo-entrevista_20200827. 1 Feb. 2021.

“Feminist anthem ‘without fear song’ by Vivir Quintana.” YouTube, uploaded by gaby boo!, 26 Oct. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLLyzqkH6cs. 25 Feb. 2021.

“Himno Nacional Mexicano.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Feb. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himno_Nacional_Mexicano. 5 March 2021.

“Mon Laferte-Vivir Quintana-El Palomar-Canción sin miedo”. YouTube, uploaded by Nachocreep, 7 March 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UgyLRjz3Oc. 31 Jan. 2021.

“Paseo de la Reforma.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paseo_de_la_Reforma. 1 Feb. 2021

“Sonora.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonora. 1 Feb. 2021

“Sororirad.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Jan. 2021, es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sororidad. 1 Feb. 2021.

Toledo Vásquez, Patsilí. Feminicio.Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos, 2009. observatoriofeminicidio.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/feminicidio-onu.pdf. 1 Feb. 2021.

Vivas nos Queremos. JustSeedsjustseeds.org/product/vivas-nos-queremos/. 1 Feb. 2021.

“Vivir Quintana-Canción sin miedo ft. El Palomar”. YouTube, uploaded by Vivir Quintana, 7 March 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLLyzqkH6cs. 31 Jan. 2021.

  1. Translation is mine.

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