LA RUANA, A Wearable Musical Poem

November 5, 2017

 To comprehend how to wear a poem, it is necessary first, to talk about La Ruana, the Bambuco song.  Bambuco is a traditional folk music genre, born in the Andean Region in Colombia. It is played with guitar, requinto and tiple, all string musical instruments. This song was composed originally as a poem by Colombian Luis Carlos Gonzales and later was recordered as a song in the 1940s. This kind of music is particularly special for me because makes me feel close to my father. He died five years ago and I miss him, but I feel happy when remembering him singing 
these songs. Once, when I was in third grade at school, I sang a Bambuco song he loved to him. He was so proud and pleased, with a big smile and tears in his eyes.


On the other hand, a Ruana is an outer garment typical of the Colombian Andean Region, commonly worn by the countryside habitants. Generally square, it is a very thick and soft cloak, sleeveless with an opening in the center to pass the head through. The Ruana appears in many
early chronicles of Spanish conquers, describing some tribal people who lived in cold places and used to wear a kind of woolen cape or poncho to protect them against harsh weather. At the same time, in the Castilian Spain, notable men used to wear cloaks as symbol of elegance and prestige.


The fragments of the La Ruana’s lyrics:  

“La capa del viejo hidalgo, se rompe para ser ruana”

(“ The cloak of old nobleman, breaks to become a Ruana”.) 

“… tengo doble ancestro de Don Quixote y Quimbaya”

(“… I have double ancestor, of Mister Quixote and Quimbaya”.)

make reference to the contact and interaction of two cultures, one of the most determining aspects of my heritage. Through the character of the Quixote, the main role of the Spanish literature masterpiece El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote De La Mancha (English version: The Ingenious Nobleman Mister Quixote of La Mancha) and Quimbaya, one of the most notable Colombian Indigenous tribe, especially recognized for their gold work. The song exposes the mutual influence of Spanish and Colombian Indigenous traditions. 


In that way, the author of the poem Ruana, which becomes_the lyrics of the song La Ruana, the Colombian poet Luis González, had written these words as a symbol of union of two heritages. Since both Ruana and Castilian cloak were used at the same time, when Spanish conquers  came to the American continent, these two expressions of clothing had begun a long history of influence and changes. 


In conclusion, the fact is that I am not completely Spanish nor absolutely Colombian
Indigenous. Just as with La Ruana, I am both. I am part of a special combination of both 
cultures and various other cultures. But what I am completely, is proud of the Ruana as 
a part of my history which allows me explore my heritage and connect my present with
my roots. 

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LA RUANA, A Wearable Musical Poem

November 5, 2017

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