“En mi viejo San Juan” & “México lindo y querido”

Noel Estrada, a [Puerto Rican] musician and composer, joined the U.S. Army at the beginning of World War II; it was the first time that he had been away from his island, and he missed it terribly. He wrote the song “En mi viejo San Juan,” which became internationally famous and was first sung in 1943.

En mi viejo San Juan” is a bolero song with lyrics that evoke sadness and nostalgia for Puerto Ricans who are away from their homeland. Since almost half of Puerto Ricans live abroad, this song quickly obtained the status of the second national anthem of Puerto Rico, after “La bonriqueña.” The city of San Juan adopted it as its official song. 

Cf. Galván, Javier A. Culture and Customs of Puerto Rico. Culture and Customs of Latin America and the Caribbean. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2009, p. 12

By the way… a little bit off the Puerto Rican shores, this song makes me think of the traditional Mexican mariachi and ranchera song: “México lindo y querido”, written by Chucho Monge and made famous by singer Jorge Negrete. This song also evokes sadness and nostalgia for Mexicans who are away from their homeland.

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One Response to “En mi viejo San Juan” & “México lindo y querido”

  1. Ratonet says:

    The following are the words to the traditional song, “En Mi Viejo San Juan”, by Noel Estrada:

    En mi Viejo San Juan, cuántos sueños forjé, en mis años de infancia…
    Mi primera ilusión, y mis cuitas de amor, son recuerdos del alma. . ..
    Una tarde partí hacía extraña nación, pues lo quiso el destino.
    Pero mi corazón, se quedó frente al mar, en mi Viejo San Juan.

    Adiós, adiós – adiós,
    Mi diosa del mar – mi reina del palmar
    Me voy, ya me voy, pero un día volveré . .
    A buscar mi querer, a soñar otra vez, en mi Viejo San Juan.

    Pero el tiempo pasó y el destino burló, mi terrible nostalgia . . .
    Y no pude volver al San Juan que yo amé, pedacito de patria . .
    Mi cabello blanqueó, ya mi vida se va – ya la muerte me llama,
    Y no quiero morir alejado de ti Puerto Rico del alma….

    Noel Estrada
    English Translation:

    In my Old San Juan, many dreams I forged in my childhood years
    My first illusion, and my grief of love are memories of the soul
    One afternoon I departed for a foreign nation, that’s how destiny would have it
    But my heart remained at the seas, of my Old San Juan.

    Goodbye (goodbye, goodbye)
    My dear Borinquen (land of my love)
    Goodbye (goodbye, goodbye)
    Mi Goddess of the Sea (my Queen of the Palms)

    I’m leaving (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 terrible nostalgia.
    And I could not return to my San Juan of yesterday, little piece of my soul.
    My hair turned white, my life is about to leave, death is upon me.
    I do not want to die so far away from you, Puerto Rico of my soul!


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