Thursday, January 15, 2009
En Mi Viejo San Juan is a second national anthem to many Puerto Ricans, especially those who have left the island for homes and jobs abroad. Full of nostalgia, here the song is performed impeccably by Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, in my opinion the finest lirico-leggiero (bel canto) operatic tenor performing in the world today. His childhood experience as a pop singer in his mother's bar allows him to be a convincing cross-over artist.
Puerto Rican native Noel Estrada (1918-1979) was a government worker who penned this classic bolero after being away from Puerto Rico to serve in the army during WW II.
English translation of lyrics:
In my Old San Juan, I forged many dreams in my childhood years.
My first illusion and my grief of love are memories of the soul.
One afternoon I left for a foreign nation, that's how destiny would have it,
But my heart remained in front of the sea, in my Old San Juan.
Goodbye, my dear Borinquen; Goodbye, my goddess of the Sea.
I'm leaving now, but someday I'll return to search for my love,
To dream once again in my Old San Juan.
But time passed me by, and destiny fooled my aching nostalgia.
And I could not return to the San Juan I loved, that little piece of my soul.
My hair has turned gray, life is leaving me, death is calling me.
I do not want to die so far away from you, Puerto Rico of my soul!