Puerto Rican singer of traditional folk music. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was part of the Latin American nueva canción movement, which sought to make a statement of social protest through the revival of indigenous elements.
Andrés Jiménez was born on July 3, 1947, in the Gato sector of the mountain municipality of Orocovis. He was part of a large family of farmers. His parents were Juan Jiménez and Felícita Hernández. He studied in primary and secondary schools in his hometown. Puerto Rican folk music was an integral part of his life. During his childhood and adolescence, he participated in traditional religious activities such as Christmas carols and sung rosaries.
When he was only 17 years old, he left the island to seek his fortune in New York. While he lived there, he was drafted into the United States Army during the Vietnam War. When he was discharged in the late 1960s, he returned to the island and enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico. Young people were calling for social justice and criticizing the island’s colonial situation. They also protested the Vietnam War and the presence of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (R. O. T. C.) at the state university. It was during this era that Andrés Jiménez enrolled at the university, where he met other young people who, like him, were concerned about the socio-political situation in Puerto Rico. They aspired for political independence from the United States.
His love for music led him to join the group Taoné during the early 1970s. The group consisted of various artists such as Antonio Cabán Vale (also known as “El Topo”), Noel Hernández, Carlos Lozada and Roy Brown. Their music was tied to the Puerto Rican nueva canción tradition – mainly folk music with Latin American influences and protest lyrics.
In 1973, he traveled with this group to Cuba to participate in the First Folklore Song Fest of Latin America and to Germany to sing at the Tenth Youth Festival. They also did a tour in Mexico. Among the albums they recorded were Cantos de lucha de Puerto Rico (1976), which included folk and protest songs such as “Qué bonita bandera” and “La ley de gravedad.”
In 1984, he began to collaborate with the group El Taller Campesino, with whom he recorded various albums, including Así canta Puerto Rico (1985), 500 años después (1987) and Serenata jíbara (1989). Beginning in 1994, he recorded three albums of his own: Yo creo en la libertad (1994), A los Santos Inocentes (1996) and En la última trinchera (1997). He contributed to the struggle against the occupation of the island municipality of Vieques by the United States Navy with, among other contributions; a recording he made with Ismael Miranda titled Son de Vieques.
In the early 2000s, he created his own record company called Producciones Cuarto Menguante, through which he produced albums such as Nació en Borikén (s.f.), Mi parranda (2007) and Fiesta en la montaña (2008). He also reissued some of his earlier productions, such as Barlovento, A mí me gusta mi pueblo and Cien años con Albizu (all c. 2008).
Andrés Jiménez sang “jíbara” music, the traditional music of rural Puerto Ricans. The instruments traditionally used were the cuatro, the guitar, the güiro and bongo drums, but today other instruments are also included. Jiménez has renewed this traditional Puerto Rican music by incorporating influences from bomba y plena – Puerto Rican coastal music with African influences – as well as jazz and other musical genres, including seises, aguinaldos, boleros, décimas, danzas and guaguancó, among others. His preferred themes are patriotism, particularly the island’s struggle for independence, country life and landscapes, and religious and Christmas themes.
Over the course of his career, Andrés Jiménez has recorded approximately 30 albums. His presence is anticipated at town festivals and patron saint festivals. After the success of his album A los santos inocentes (1996), he presented a solo concert at the Guaynabo Fine Arts Center. He has also been part of the musical specials produced by Banco Popular of Puerto Rico during the Christmas season, such as Somos un solo pueblo (1995) and Al compás de un sentimiento (1996).
“Andrés Jiménez (“El Jíbaro”)” Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular. Web. 22 marzo 2010.
Malinow, Ian. “Andrés ‘El Jíbaro’ Jiménez: The Voice of Puerto Rico’s Patriotic Music Movement”. Examiner.com. Clarity Digital Group, LLC, 22 diciembre 2008. Web. 11 abril 2010.
Medina, Jorge H. “Música y resistencia: la nueva canción puertorriqueña”. Claridad [San Juan, Puerto Rico] [s.f.] Web. 11 abril 2010.
Pratts, Edgardo. “El folklore musical de Puerto Rico y Latinoamérica de los años ’60 al presente”. La Canción Popular 3.3, 1988. 16-18. Impreso.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 11, 2014.
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