You know how you know a song but don't really know it? Thanks to my eight-year old daughter who is now in the "inquiring minds want to know" phase, I realized through a series of questions that I hadn't known 'La Borinqueña' (Puerto Rico's national anthem) as I thought I did. Time to do homework! Time to relearn La Borinqueña.
I'm proud to say I knew a good portion of the lyrics, the authors of the song among many other details that I was happy to be have in arm when "the short one" demanded answers from me. It always feels good when I have the answers buried in my skull for immediate retrieval (it makes me look smart..lol..), however I make sure that she understands that looking things up and researching are also marks of a smart and great thinker. In attempting to teach and explain the anthem to my daughter (who is also learning Spanish as we go), I discovered I had some of the words wrong. So we worked on it together and she is slowly committing it to memory as am I. In the meantime, I gave her some background information as to the creation of our national anthem and this is what we learned (cause I learned a few interesting facts myself):
- It is unclear as to who originally wrote La Borinqueña. Names like Francisco Ramírez Ortíz was said to have written and constructed the song for his lover. It was then said that the Catalan Félix Astol Artés made changes to the song and it's title. Félix Astol Artés changed the name of the song to La Bella Trigueña . Some time later Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió was inspired to make a patriotic rendition of the song that supported the Puerto Rican revolution. And finally we have Manuel Fernández Juncos who also played a huge part in changing the lyrics of the song as well as Ramón Collado who also changed the melody to the one we know today.
- It was in 1952 that the government of Puerto Rico approved the music of 'La Borinqueña' and the words in 1977.
- I was disheartened when I came across this piece of information, but I should of known to expect it...FACT: Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States therefore its "official" anthem is "The Star Spangled Banner", but of course that is rarely if ever sung by the people on the island. WHEW!
- This I found really interesting. Lola Rodríguez de Tió has been credited for her suggestion that Puerto Ricans use the Cuban flag with its colors reversed. (Seeing how she lived in Cuba for so many years. Lola and her husband were deported from Puerto Rico for their separatists efforts).
- The title La Borinqueña refers to the aboriginal Taíno name for the island of Puerto Rico, `Boriken` or `Borinquen.`
- Regardless of which rendition of La Borinqueña was declared as Puerto Rico's national anthem, all of them are well known and still sung on the island.
Lyrics: Manuel Fernández Juncos (1846-1928)
La Borinqueña (march)
Lyrics: Lola Rodríguez de Tió
La Bella Trigueña (danza)
Lyrics: Félix Astol Artés (1813-1901)
The actual lyrics to the above renditions can be found at: http://welcome.topuertorico.org/bori.shtml