Today is my second anniversary living in Puerto Rico and since I moved from Belgium to Puerto Rico, what better to celebrate than to show you a couple of songs with Belgian artists singing about Puerto Rico! Oh yes, there is such a thing:
The first song is called “Manhattan – Kaboul” by the Belgian singer Axelle Red and French singer Renaud. You might wonder what a song about Manhattan and Kabul has to do with Puerto Rico – well, the song starts with these lines:
“Petit Portoricain, bien intégré quasiment New-yorkais
Dans mon building tout de verre et d’acier,
Je prends mon job, un rail de coke, un café*…”
(NB the Franglish!)
The two artists sing interchangeably, Renaud as a Puerto Rican working in the Twin Towers on 9-11 and Axelle Red as an Afghan girl in Kabul. Read more on the very interesting interpretation of the song here.
The second song is of course Vaya Con Dios song “Puerto Rico” and you might remember that I have already mentioned it several times**. Vaya Con Dios is / was a Belgian band and the song about “my” island came out in 1987. It is the first thing Belgians think of when they hear of the country Puerto Rico and I think most of them know how to hum the song. Quite a few of my colleagues and friends used to sing it for me before I moved, and they played the song at my farewell party in the office!
I have actually also heard the song sung in Spanish on the radio in Puerto Rico but I have no idea who the artist is.
“Wake up Angelita, your mama just turned off the light
Manolo is already waiting by the old water-pipe
Her shoes in one hand she carefully walks down the stairs
Holding her breath ’cause there’s danger and love in the air.
Aie aie aie aie aie aie Puerto Rico…”
And thirdly, a Puerto Rican singer who is virtually unknown in his home country but famous in Belgium, where he nowadays lives – Gabriel Ríos! He sings in both English and Spanish (not French or Flemish!?). Here’s a song in Spanish called “Tu no me quieres” (“You don’t want me” – the video actually has the lyrics subtitled in English)
If you are interested in Puerto Rican music, without any Belgian references, check out this blog post that I wrote last year.
*) Rough translation: “Little Puerto Rican, well integrated almost [a] New Yorker, in my building all [made] of glass and steel, I take my job, a line of coke, a coffee”
**) As a reminder that I live in Puerto Rico and not Costa Rica…