of Puerto Rico…
The Jíbaro! By Les Rivera
“A Puerto Rican shall not be boring! To describe Don Jíbaro
as anything less than riveting would be an understatement of
his own philosophy”.
When I wrote an article on Don Jíbaro a long time ago, I
felt that his comment was perhaps the greatest way to
describe what a Jíbaro was all about. And as far as Don
Jíbaro himself is concerned, he is a native Puerto Rican,
complete with all the humble peasantry and simple lifestyle,
which surrounds someone who lives like a true Jíbaro! And,
for the uninitiated, the term “Don” in Spanish can be
translated as the English “Sir”.
Thus, the name Don Jíbaro not only represents a person who
just happens to be a well-known Puerto Rican on the world
wide web, but rather, the ultimate name anyone can proudly
carry to represent what Puerto Rican culture is all about.
From within that Jíbaro humbleness rises a personality so
full of life and excitement, exposing that spectacular
Castillian Spanish origin of Puerto Rico to its fullest,
from laid back personalities to hot flaring tempers!
There was a time that the "almighty sugar cane" ruled the
Thus the term 'Jíbaro' in Puerto Rico
represents and retains the strongest elements of European
Spanish culture found on the island.
The Jíbaros were the country folk from the interior and
highlands of Puerto Rico who were principally farmers and
laborers. It was largely on their backs that the
agricultural boom took place. The Jíbaros relentlessly
worked the fields and plantations of the hacendados (the
Spanish landowners). The arrangement was typical for the
Jíbaros were not slaves (the Spanish imported slaves from
Africa), but they were an impoverished and uneducated group.
The land owners wanted it that way. After all, keeping
workers poor and uneducated secured a reliable production on
the landowners’ land.
And, like the African slaves, they found their voices in
music.Today, the songs of the Jíbaros are a celebrated part
of the island's culture. The Jíbaros also became the subject
of paintings and other artistic expressions by some of
Puerto Rico's most renowned master artists.
The Jíbaro Asalto is the Caroling.
The Jíbaros celebrated their coffee harvest
with joyful music and dance. Jíbaro music and dance was the
principal musical expression of such. Lively celebrations
typically lasted long into the night.
The Jíbaro music arrived as a result of the influence of
eight centuries of domination from Spain. The influence of
Arabic culture can also be heard in this music, as well as
the intricate influence of African rhythms, spiced up with a
dash of Taino. Today, many younger generation Puerto Ricans
only associate Jíbaro music with Christmas because of the
tradition of the Parrandas, especially Puerto Ricans born
and raised on the U.S. mainland.
The Jíbaro has many facets.... one being his simplicity!
By the way, here is a treat for you,
provided by Jíbaros.com….
In this video clip you can enjoy Jíbaro music at its finest:
Don Jesus Sanchez Erazo (Chuito el de Bayamon) is one of our
era’s most beloved Jíbaro singers. Here he performs with
Maso Rivera on the cuatro, Toribio on the guiro, and
Francisco Ortiz Pineiro on the guitar.
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