Soy Colombiano (I’m Colombian): Background and Story Behind It

Soy Colombiano (I’m Colombian) – Rafael Godoy (Sang by several artists in different years) link to the song: here

Lyrics (translated to English):

Give me an aguardiente (typical Colombian drink)

An aguardiente of caña (plant where they make the drink of)

From the cañas of my Valles (southwestern region of Colombia)

And the anise of my mountains

Don’t give me foreign drinks

They’re expensive and don’t taste good

And because I always want

The things from my land first

Ay, I feel so proud

Of being born in my town

Sing me a bambuco (traditional Colombian music from the east side of the country)

One of those that reaches the soul

Chants that cooed me

When I was just saying “mama”

The rest might be nice

But the heart doesn’t jump

Like it jumps when they sing me

A Colombian song

Ay, I feel so proud

Of being born in my homeland

And for me a young lady

Aperladita (light skinned) or brunette

A blond of light eyes

And soft montañera (person from the mountains) skin

Young ladies, music, and drinks

From the mountains or from my Llano (southeastern region of Colombia)

Ay, I feel so proud

Of being a good Colombian

Ay, I feel so proud

Of being a good Colombian

 

Soy Colombiano” (or in English, I’m Colombian) is a bambuco (traditional Colombian music genre from the east side of the country) composed by the Colombian composer, Rafael Godoy (1902-1973). There is not a precise date recorded of when the song was composed, but it’s guessed that he wrote it around the 1950’s during the times of La Violencia (The Violence) in Colombia. Godoy was forced to leave the country because for safety, but regardless of the difficulties, he never lost his patriotism and his love for Colombia. This is why his songs are so emblematic to Colombian people, even until the present date, but Soy Colombiano outstands among the others because of the effect that it has on whoever listens to it.

The Composer

Rafael Godoy was born in Natagaima, Colombia in 1902. At an early age he joined a communist military, reason why he left his hometown. Later on, he joined a trade-union movement in the city of Barrancabermeja, where he defended and fought for the workers rights. Due to his revolutionary opinions and actions in the movement, Godoy’s safety was highly threatened by the prosecutors of the unionists and he was forced to leave Colombia and build up a new life in Venezuela. This is one of the factors that inspired him to become a musician and composer, as he felt nostalgic and at the same time hurt because of the way he had to leave his country. Regardless of his situation (he lived in Venezuela until the day of his death in 1973), Godoy didn’t feel any hate against Colombia but instead, he felt more love to his country than ever before, as he wanted to remember only the good things about it and let people know how proud they should be of being born in Colombia.

Time Period

Soy Colombiano was composed during one of the most violent time periods in Colombia’s history. La Violencia was the time period between 1948 and 1958 where the liberals and conservatives were creating a civil war in Colombia and one of the country’s more dangerous times. It all started in 1948 in Bogotá, when the conservatives

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Destroyed buildings in Bogota after the Bogotazo, 1948. Link to image here

murdered the liberal candidate for the election of 1949, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán (El Bogotazo (click for info)). Millions of people were forced to abandon their towns and cities due to this conflict and there was an estimate amount 200,000 dead people in the total 10 years of conflict. Colombia wasn’t a safe place anymore, but despite the difficult times, there were Colombians like Rafael Godoy who wanted to remind the rest of the people about the good things that that country had as an attempt to make them reflect and realize that such conflicts shouldn’t be happening in a country that has so many good things in it.

 

Lyrics and Meaning

The song’s lyrics have such significance and power, that many people consider Soy Colombiano as Colombia’s second national anthem. The song talks about traditional Colombian things like aguardiente (traditional drink), bambuco (traditional music genre), or the different regions of the country. It also talks about it’s beautiful women and about the pride that every single Colombian should feel of being born in the country. Not only the lyrics but also the rhythm of the song has something spacial. It creates a feeling of nostalgia, as it brings up the best memories of people’s experiences in the country. In my case, it just makes me feel lucky to be coming from a place that has so many great things (nature, music, food, people, etc.) in it and that no matter how difficult the situation can be, the good things are going to remain there and we should value them.

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Link to image here

Conclusion

This song has been performed by different artists through the history of the country. Every time the country has gone through hard times, this song starts to play in radio stations, streets, and houses of Colombian families. Looking at Rafael Godoy’s story inspires people to not give up in the country and always love it and be proud of it. If he, a man that was forced to leave his country and couldn’t go back until the day of his death, was able to feel this patriotic, then this should make every Colombian feel the same way in the difficult times, and this is the purpose of Soy Colombiano. Every time I listen to this song I can only say: I’m so proud of being a good Colombian.

 

Links to Information (click to open):

Rafael Godoy

La Violencia

Trade Unions

 

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