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Florencio Morales Ramos, better known as Ramito, was an expert singer and composer of jíbaro (peasant) music. Born in 1915 in Caguas, Puerto Rico–which he would often extol in his songs along with his neighborhood of Bairoa—Ramito became familiar with the seises and aguinaldos (the main styles of jíbaro music or trova) during his childhood. Along with his brothers Luis Morales Ramos “Luisito” and Juan María Morales Ramos “Moralito,” Ramito brought jíbaro music to the United States, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico, among other countries. Known for his repertoire of aguinaldos and seises, Ramito also recorded and composed many plenas, an Afro-Puerto Rican rhythm born at the beginning of the twentieth century characterized by the use of panderos (handheld frame drums) and its use of call and response. Puerto Ricans continue to remember and celebrate Ramito anytime they gather (be it on the Island or in the diaspora), to sing his “Qué bonita bandera,” an emblematic plena of cultural pride where the Puerto Rican flag, a symbol derided by US colonialism that was illegal during the first half of the twentieth century, is praised.

-Dr. Mario Cancel Bigay

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