El Alma de Puerto Rico: A Jíbaro Tradition | Shore Fire Media

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20 September, 2016Print

El Alma de Puerto Rico: A Jíbaro Tradition

El Alma de Puerto Rico: A Jíbaro Tradition

Ecos de Borinquen to release second album via Smithsonian Folkways on Oct. 21

On October 21, Smithsonian Folkways will release 'El Alma de Puerto Rico: A Jíbaro Tradition' by Ecos de Borinquen, the 46th installment of the label's "Tradiciones" Latino music series of new albums that showcase the diverse musical heritage of the more than 50 million Latinos living in the USA. For the past 35 years, the GRAMMY and Latin Grammy-winning ensemble Ecos de Borinquen has captured the heart and soul of jíbaro creole folk traditions; with their distinctive, soulful sounds and progressive instrumentation, the group represents a unique balance between tradition and innovation. The collection features 16 tracks lasting a total of 59 minutes and is accompanied by a 40-page booklet with bilingual notes that delve deep into the jíbaro musical tradition.

With 'El Alma de Puerto Rico' (The Soul of Puerto Rico) -- the group's second release with Smithsonian Folkways -- Ecos de Borinquen showcases a variety of traditional genres considered the essence of jíbaro music, including seis, aguinaldo, and cadena. Revered trovador and founding member Miguel Santiago Díaz's poetic mastery of traditional décima is cradled in progressive instrumental arrangements by fellow member Ramon Vázquez Lamboy for two cuatro guitars. The cuatro, a six-stringed guitar, is jíbaro music's most iconic string instrument. 

Rooted in the rich history of Puerto Rico, jíbaros were originally rural farmers who descended from the racial mixing of peoples that coexisted on the island through 400 years of Spanish rule: indigenous Taino, European and African. Jíbaros developed a creole culture and music distinctly different from the urban communities at the time. Whether dancing to mark the end of harvest season or singing to tell stories during work in the fields, jíbaros incorporated music into their daily life. 

On 'El Alma de Puerto Rico', "Cadenas" is a stunning example of a song sung during work, describing a rural scene in which a loved one washes clothes in the river. The celebration of folk Catholic traditions played a pivotal role in jíbaro music, and "Un sol de esperanza" and "Plegaria" are traditional aguinaldos, displays of the vows Catholic devotees sang to patron saints at domestic altars or large celebrations.

Using his knowledge of tradition while recently incorporating young talent into the group's sound, Ramon Vízquez has continued to keep Ecos de Borinquen in the forefront of jíbaro music. 'El Alma de Puerto Rico' will become a memorable recording for both jíbaro and folk music fans.


'El Alma de Puerto Rico' Tracklist:

1. Soñando con regresar (Dreaming of Returning)

2. Neustro amigo el flamboyán (Our Friend the Flame Tree)

3. El Alma de Puerto Rico (The Soul of Puerto Rico)

4. Paraíso borincano (Borinquen Paradise)

5. Homenaje a Juan González (Tribute to Juan González)

6. Gloria al idioma espaáol (Glory to the Spanish Language)

7. Hospitalidad (Hospitality)

8. El Rodadero (The Rodadero)

9. Un sol de esperanza (A Light of Hope)

10. Comerío vibra en mí (Puerto Rock Resonates in Me)

11. Tres generaciones (Three Generations)

12. Cadenas (Cadenas)

13. Fiesta en el batey (Fiesta in the Batey)

14. Gloria (Gloria)

15. Por amor (For Love)



About the 'Tradiciones' (Traditions) Series:

The Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Latino Music Initiative proudly offers a series of new releases that showcase the diverse musical heritage of the more than 50 million Latinos living in the USA. Building on the Smithsonian archives' nearly 200 historic albums of music from Latin America and Latino USA, the new releases highlight musical traditions that further broaden the cultural representation of the national museum's collection. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings reaffirms its non-profit mission by offering greater access to the musical heritage of Latinos from many backgrounds.

About Smithsonian Folkways:

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States. As part of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, we are dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, and dissemination of sound.

Our mission is the legacy of Moses Asch, who founded Folkways Records in 1948 to document "people's music," spoken word, instruction, and sounds from around the world. Smithsonian Folkways has continued to expand on Asch's legacy, adding several other record labels to the collections, such as Cook, Monitor, and the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music, and releasing over 400 new recordings that document and celebrate the sounds of the world around us. With the acquisition of Arhoolie Records, the collection consists of more than 3,500 albums and 50,000 tracks along with videos, playlists, podcasts, lesson plans for teachers, and Smithsonian Folkways Magazine.

NOTE: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings retail distribution in the US is through ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance) at 800.239.3232. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings releases are available through record and book outlets. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, as well as Folkways Records, A.R.C.E., Arhoolie, Banjo Builders, Blue Ridge Institute, Cook, Collector, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, I.L.A.M., The Mickey Hart Collection, Monitor, M.O.R.E., Paredon, and UNESCO are available via mail order at 888.FOLKWAYS or 800.410.9815. Visit the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings website at www.folkways.si.edu or write to 600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 2001, Washington, DC, 20024.


More Info on Smithsonian Folkways:

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For more information on Smithsonian Folkways, contact Mark Satlof (msatlof@shorefire.com) or Andrea Evenson (aevenson@shorefire.com) at Shore Fire Media, 718 522-7171