Sunday, June 13, 2010

La Borinqueña: An early history

A music lover from San Germán, Puerto Rico named Francisco Ramírez composed some music lyrics accompanied by guitar for his love. This composition would become a popular favorite at many festive events. It would eventually evolve into the Puerto Rican national anthem.

Ramírez met a Spanish musician by the name of Felix Astol Artés. Upon hearing Ramírez' melody, Astol, enjoying it so much, transformed it into a danza. The danza was entitled "La Bella Trigueña".

During the late nineteenth century, with the desire for independence from Spain, there existed a revolutionary sentiment. Upon hearing the danza, poetess Lola Rodríguez de Tió, quickly fell in love with it. She proceeded to write her own words with a revolutionary tone. Her version was considered subversive by Spanish authorities. Furious with this version of the song, the Spanish government began to investigate and inquire about its creator. Fearing for his life, Ramírez denied composing the music and gave his manuscript to Astol, whom being Spanish was safe from retaliation. Astol was then credited for the compositions creation.

In recognizing Ramírez as the compositions author, the town of San Germán, on December 23, 1945, made it official by placing a plaque where Ramírez house stood. The plaque honors Ramírez as the compositions author.

La Borinqueña
Versión Lola Rodríguez de Tió

¡Despierta, borinqueño
que han dado la señal!
¡Despierta de ese sueño
que es hora de luchar!
A ese llamar patriótico
¿no arde tu corazón?
¡Ven! Nos será simpático
el ruido del cañón.
Mira, ya el cubano
libre está;
le dará el machete
su libertad...
le dará el machete
su libertad.
Ya el tambor guerrero
dice en su son,
que es la manigua el sitio,
el sitio de la reunión,
de la reunión...
de la reunión.
El Grito de Lares
se ha de repetir,
y entonces sabremos
vencer o morir.
Bellísima Borinquén,
a Cuba hay que seguir;
tú tienes bravos hijos
que quieren combatir.
ya por más tiempo impávidos
no podemos estar,
ya no queremos tímidos,
dejarnos subyugar.
Nosotros queremos
ser libres ya,
y nuestro machete
afilado está.
y nuestro machete
afilado está.
¿Por qué entonces, nosotros
hemos de estar,
tan dormidos y sordos
y sordos a esa señal,
a esa señal, a esa señal?
No hay que temer, riqueños
al ruido del cañón;
que salvar a la patria
es deber del corazón.
¡ya no queremos déspotas!
¡Caiga el tirano ya!
Las mujeres indómitas
también sabrán luchar.
Nosotros queremos
la libertad,
y nuestros machetes
nos la dará...
y nuestro machete
nos la dará...
Vámonos, borinqueños,
vámonos ya,
que nos espera ansiosa,
ansiosa la libertad,
la libertad, la libertad, la libertad, la libertad!

English version

Arise, boricua!
The call to arms has sounded!
Awake from the slumber,
it is time to fight!
Doesn't this patriotic
call set your heart alight?
Come! We are in tune with
the roar of the cannon.
Come, the Cuban will
soon be free;
the machete will give him
his liberty,
the machete will give him
his liberty.
Now the war drum
says with its sound,
that the countryside is the
place of the meeting.
The Cry of Lares
must be repeated,
and then we will know:
victory or death.
Beautiful Borinquén
must follow Cuba;
you have brave sons
who wish to fight.
Now, no longer can
we be unmoved;
now we do not want timidly
to let them subjugate us.
We want to be free now,
and our machete
has been sharpened.
Why then have we been
so sleepy and
deaf to the call?
There is no need to fear,
Ricans, the roar of the cannon;
saving the nation is
the duty of the heart.
We no longer want despots,
tyranny shall fall now;
the unconquerable women also will
know how to fight.
We want liberty,
and our machetes
will give it to us.
Come, Boricuas, come now,
since freedom
awaits us anxiously,
freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom.

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