Germán Rosario aka “El Jíbaro de Yumac” (The Peasant from Yumac, Yumac being the name of his hometown Camuy spelled backwards), was born in 1913. He began singing décimas at age twelve. According to Pedro Malavet Vega, Germán took his first step in becoming more widely known in 1944 by participating in Rafael Quiñones Vidal’s radio program of aficionados. By 1950, he had left for New York City (see Sale loco de contento 2015: 347). Shortly thereafter, in 1952, he recorded his first songs for the label Rival. By the 1960s, Germán was collaborating with Ansonia Records with which he recorded two albums: “Germán Rosario Vol. 1,” and “Vol 2.” According to Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Germán’s music, along with that of other jíbaro artists, had a major impact on the Afro-Colombian music known as champeta (see “Exchange, materiality and aesthetics in Colombian champeta,” 2018: 14). Germán would also overlap with the emerging Puerto Rican nueva canción of the 1960s. In 1971, the duo Pepe y Flora, known for their socially aware music and their political activism in Puerto Rico and New York City, credited Germán as the author of their “Controversia” released in “Tengo Puerto Rico en mi corazón.”
El Jíbaro de Yumac died in New York in 1972, and is buried in Quebradillas, the Puerto Rican town where he was raised. Considered “el rey de los trovadores” (the king of troubadours), Germán’s songs are characterized by their sense of humor, their wit, a brilliant and original use of the Spanish language, and their poeticness.
-Dr. Mario Cancel Bigay
Note: This biography is largely based
on information provided by
El Proyecto del Cuatro Puertorriqueño