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Origins: Que Bonita Bandera

Joe Offer 16 Dec 14 - 03:57 PM
Joe Offer 16 Dec 14 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,# 16 Dec 14 - 04:52 PM
Joe Offer 16 Dec 14 - 04:56 PM
Monique 16 Dec 14 - 06:34 PM
Joe Offer 16 Dec 14 - 11:20 PM
Joe Offer 17 Dec 14 - 12:41 AM
Joe Offer 17 Dec 14 - 12:55 AM
Jim Dixon 17 Dec 14 - 01:32 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Dec 14 - 02:18 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Dec 14 - 02:33 PM
Monique 17 Dec 14 - 02:51 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Dec 14 - 03:28 PM
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Subject: ADD: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 03:57 PM

One of the songs we want to include in the forthcoming Rise Again songbook is Que Bonita Bandera, but I'm having trouble finding authentic lyrics for the song. I know the song from the singing of Pete Seeger and the Weavers, but I don't know if their lyrics are authentic.

Here's what Pete Seeger has in American Favorite Ballads (Oak Publications, 1961), p. 14. I also found the song in Jerry Silverman's 1975 Folk Song Encyclopedia (Vol 2, page 283). I think Silverman's Spanish is a little better, but not perfect:

QUE BONITA BANDERA

CHORUS:
Que bonita bandera
Que bonita bandera
Que bonita bandera es la bandera Puertoriqueña

Azul, blanca, y colorada,
y en el medio tiene un (una?) estrella
Bonita señores es la bandera Puertoriqueña


Seeger
Todo buen Puertoriqueña
Es bueno que la defienda,
Bonita señores, es la bandera Puertoriqueña

Bonita señora es
Que bonita es ella
Que bonita es la bandera Puertoriqueña
Silverman
Bonita, señores;
Que bonita es ella.
Bonita, señores es la bandera Puertoriqueña

Bonita, señores;
Es bueno que la defienda,
Bonita señores, es la bandera Puertoriqueña

Pete's notes: A patriotic song I learned in 1955 from young Puerto Ricans living in New York. I've been unable to locate the composer. If you cannot sing the chorus in harmony, the melody of the alto part should be sung, rather than the soprano.

My attempt at a translation:

CHORUS
How beautiful is the flag
How beautiful is the flag
How beautiful is the flag of Puerto Rico

Blue, white, and red
With a star in the middle
Beautiful indeed is the flag of Puerto Rico.

(unclear to me)
The good of Puerto Rico
It is good which is defended
Beautiful indeed is the flag of Puerto Rico.

It is like a beautiful woman
So beautiful it is
How beautiful is the flag of Puerto Rico

Wikipedia says the song was written by Florencio Morales "Flor" Ramos (September 5, 1915 – February 23, 1989), better known as Ramito.

And a YouTube recording:


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 04:28 PM

Why "colorada" and not "roja"? What's the difference between the two words?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: GUEST,#
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 04:52 PM

Scansion?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 04:56 PM

Hmmm. I don't think scansion is the issue, #.
In Spanish songs, it seems to be as easy to sing a four-syllable word on one note, as it is to sing a one-syllable word - once you get used to that. "Roja" and "colorada" seem to fit the scansion equally well. I think there's a shade of difference in meaning, or maybe it's a regional difference between Puerto Rican Spanish and the Mexican Spanish I'm familiar with here in California.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Monique
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 06:34 PM

Joe, "colorado/a" primarily means "colored" but usually means "more or less red". For some people they're synonyms, for some others "rojo" is brighter than "colorado".
Then...
chorus: it's "Qué bonita bandera (when it's an exclamative or interrogative word, it's "qué")
...puertorriqueña with lower case and double r -in Sp., the nouns and adjectives of nationality or the like don't begin with a capital letter;
1st verse, last line, I'd write it as "Bonita, señores, es ...
2nd verse, 1st line: it can't be "Todo buen" (masculine) puertorriqueña (feminine), it must be "Todo buen puertorriqueño"


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Subject: ADD Version: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 11:20 PM

Here's the version we have so far for the coming Rise Again songbook. It fits Monique's grammatical corrections much better, but I haven't been able to find a source for verifying the lyrics that I trust completely.

Qué Bonita Bandera

Qué bonita bandera (3x) / Es la bandera Puertorriqueña
Am - E - / - - Am - / Am - Dm - / Am E Am -
Azul, blanca y colorada y en el medio tiene una estrella
Qué bonita bandera, mi bandera puertorriqueña
Am E Am - / E - Am - / E - Am Dm / Am E Am -
Representando la patria después de Dios ella es la primera
Qué bonita bandera es la bandera puertorriqueña

Es símbolo de cultura como el sabor de esta rica plena / Qué...
Y si hablan mal de mi Patria es como si al fuego echaran candela...
Boricua soy de verdad porque esta tierra es linda y bella...

Florencio Morales Ramos
In Pete Seeger Bells of Rhymney. On Seeger Sing Out w/ Pete, With Voices Together & Toward World Understanding w/ S, Weavers Wasn't That a Time. On Ramita Raices Borincanas, Plena Libre Corazon, Pepe y Flora Tengo Puerto Rico en Mi Corzon
In American Favorite Ballads
Ljg


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 12:41 AM

The song is in Volume 5 #4 of Sing Out!. Can anybody send me a scan?

-Joe-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: ADD Version: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 12:55 AM

The recording by Ramito (the songwriter) is readily available, but I can't understand his singing on the verses:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA98l6P7DFQ#t=67

I found another rendition here:
http://www.puertorico.com/forums/music-arts/10895-la-bandera-puertorriquena.html.

But it still isn't from a credible source.

Qué Bonita Bandera

Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Azul, blanca y colorada
y en el medio tiene una estrella
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Representando la patria
después de Dios ella es la primera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Es símbolo de cultura
como el sabor de esta rica plena
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Y si hablan mal de mi Patria
es como si al fuego echaran candela
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Boricua soy de verdad
porque esta tierra es linda y es bella
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
Qué bonita bandera
es la bandera puertorriqueña.

This transcription is apparently from the alt.music.lyrics.Spanish newsgroup, also available here:
http://alt.music.lyrics.spanish.narkive.com/lGxMJSvl/letra-de-que-bonita-bandera
Qué Bonita Bandera
Coro: Luis Morales Ramos "Ramito"
Estrofas: José Nogueras


These lyrics sound very nice, but they don't sound to me like what Ramito is singing. Here's a recording by "Plena Libre." It sounds very much like the lyrics used by Ramito, but more clear - but still not clear enough for me to transcribe. Can anybody help?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 01:32 PM

For what it's worth, here's a photo of the songwriter, Florencio Morales Ramos a.k.a. Ramito.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 02:18 PM

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about "Qué Bonita Bandera" (in an article about the songwriter).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 02:33 PM

I am finding variant spellings:

puertorriqueña and portorriqueña

Google Ngram


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Subject: ADD Version: Que Bonita Bandera
From: Monique
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 02:51 PM

With a help from my niece and Google peopleforpuertorico.blogspot

QUÉ BONITA BANDERA
(Florencio Morales Ramos “Ramito”)

Qué bonita bandera, qué bonita bandera.
Qué bonita bandera es la bandera puertorriqueña.


Azul blanca colorada, en el medio tiene una estrella
Qué bonita bandera es mi bandera puertorriqueña

Qué bonita bandera...

Dijo José de Diego, Bentances y Muñoz Rivera
Qué bonita bandera es la bandera puertorriqueña.

Qué bonita bandera...

Quisiera verla flotando sobre mi Borinquen bella.
Qué bonita bandera, dime qué bonita bandera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA98l6P7DFQ#t=67


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Subject: Lyr Add: QUE BONITA BANDERA (from Pepe y Flora)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 03:28 PM

These lyrics and the following note come from the album's liner notes found here:
http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/paredon/PAR01005.pdf

The notes do not give credit to a songwriter.

I don't think this should be regarded as definitive.--JD


QUE BONITA BANDERA
As sung by Pepe y Flora on "Tengo Puerto Rico en Mi Corazon" (1971)

(CORO) Que bonita bandera, que bonita bandera,
que bonita bandera
es la bandera Puertorriqueña.
Que bonita bandera, que bonita bandera,
que bonita bandera
Es la bandera Puertorriqueña.

1. Bonita, bonita, que bonita es ella
Señores, bonita es la bandera Puertorriqueña. (CORO)

2. Azul blanca y colorada y en medio tiene una estrella
que bonita compay es la bandera Puertorriqueña. (CORO)

3. Y todo Puertorriqueño tiene que defenderla
Porque, señores, es nuestra bandera Puertorriqueña. (CORO)

4. Que viva aquel gran patriota que siempre luchó por ella
defendiendo siempre nuestra bandera Puertorriqueña. (CORO)

5. Que vino a Estados Unidos y estudió en grandes escuelas
y despues fue a Puerto Rico a defender su bandera. (CORO)

6. Que vino Betances y Albizu Campos en la nueva era
Albizu simbolo vivo de la bandera Puertorriqueña. (CORO)

7. No importa Estados Unidos dejarla flotar no quiera
que bonita compay es la bandera Puertorriqueña. (CORO)


Que Bonita Bandera is a good opening song for this album. This plena (the word refers to both its rhythm and the fact that, in between short choruses, the singer makes up verses) is a very popular song among New York Puerto Ricans.

About a year and a half ago, the students at Bronx Community College were picketing their school (they had taken the building). Since someone had brought a flag with them, we began singing this song. Everyone on the street, including the cops, laughed at us ... imagine singing that kind of a song to a flag! But their smiles disappeared when we replaced the American flag on the school's flag pole with the Puerto Rican flag.

That's the point of course. When a country could not fly its flag until 1956, that flag becomes part and parcel of its patriotic struggle for independence.

[Notes by Alfredo Lopez]


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