multicultural
does not describe me fully
it is where to start



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mi Lamento Borincano or My Puerto Rican Lament


If you have followed the thread of my posts, you know that one of my novels is about a Puerto Rican Pentecostal family which immigrates to the U.S in the 1950s. The protagonist, Angélica, grows up to live a dual existence between her American secular life and her Puerto Rican evangelical life. Though my writing benefitted greatly from my similar background, the novel is not autobiographical. Instead it is a tale told in the spirit of Gabriel García Márquez [“Macondo is not so much as place as it is a state of mind.”].

This is not to say that writing this novel was not an emotional journey for me, particularly so when doing research about 1940s rural Puerto Rico, the staging ground for both my family and Angélica’s. When I write, I often play background music appropriate to the time period or setting. For 1940s rural Puerto Rico, there was no question which song I would choose to inspire me. No matter how often I hear the classic "Lamento Borincano" by the famous Puerto Rican composer of popular songs Rafael Hernández Marín, its opening chords carry me back to a way of life I often heard about as a child, but never knew first hand. It captures the longing I saw in my parents’ eyes for the homeland they left behind. Here is Marc Anthony singing background for images of Puerto Rico in the 1940s.




When I wanted a change, I would shift over to "Preciosa," another famous song by Rafael Hernández Marín; here, too, sung by Marc Anthony, this time at Madison Square Garden.



The longing captured in these songs makes me wonder whether it gets imbedded, even generations removed, in the DNA of those exiled from any homeland, whether it be Africa, Europe or Puerto Rico.

Translation links for: Lamento Borincano , Preciosa


For reasons I can't seem to correct, the comment option is sometimes not showing up on this post. I love reading your comments. If the link does not appear below, please hit: Post a Comment.

10 comments:

Judith Mercado said...

I am not sure what is happening but on my page I can't see the option for posting a comment. I have checked my settings and they are in order. I regret this situation and hope it can be corrected soon. Just know I eagerly look forward to your comments.

Judith Mercado said...

A Cuban In London said...
I tried to leave you a comment in your latest post but there's no box to comment. That Lamento Boricano got to my very core. I had not heard that song for many, many years. And it expresses pretty much the sentiment that underlines Latin American identity.

Many thanks for that post.

Greetings from London.

November 2, 2009 5:52 AM

Judith Mercado said...
Cuban, I'm going to transfer your comment to the Lamento post. I'm still not sure what is going on. I'm glad it resonated for you.

November 2, 2009 6:18 AM

Bethany Wiggins said...

Music is an amazing muse. My husband's mother is Puerto Rican. I love the culture and society. You book sounds beautiful!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I hit post a comment and it brought me here, so that's good!

I wish I could listen to music as I write, but I can't - however, when listening while not writing, I will think of something -the music will inspire me...and then when I finally can sit down to write, the feeling my have left or I've forgotten it...

loved listening here...

Jose Ramon Santana Vazquez said...

... ...traigo
sangre
de
la
tarde
herida
en
la
mano
y
una
vela
de
mi
corazon
para
invitarte
y
darte
este
alma
que
viene
para
compartir
contigo
tu
bello
blog
con
un
ramillete
de
oro
y
claveles
dentro...


desde mis
HORAS ROTAS
Y AULA DE PAZ


TE SIGO TU BLOG
PILGRIM SOUL



CON saludos de la luna al
reflejarse en el mar de la
poesia ...


AFECTUOSAMENTE
PILGRIM SOUL



jose
ramon...

Judith Mercado said...

Bethany, so you're sort of part of the tribe, too!

Kathryn, I don't always listen to music only when I want to be deeply inspired.

José Ramón,
Gracias por tu ramillete
de
oro
y
claveles.

Judy

Patty said...

Hello My dear kindred spirit Judy!

I love this post! I love that you illustrate how you used music to put you in that "state of mind" to create a space in which you characters develop and take on a life of thier own. You are brilliant my dear! Abrazos, Patty

Judith Mercado said...

Patty, un fuerte abrazo to you too. Thanks for being such a good friend and supporter.

Sheila Deeth said...

Music, good music anyway, seems to skip the brain's censors and go straight to the emotions.

Kathleen said...

Judy, thanks for educating me in the PR culture. I truly enjoyed the video, seeing the country side and the faces of beautiful people. The music is exciting and the voice incredible. Loved it