La Décima Borinqueña (2005)

About the Film

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Spanish poet, novelist and musician Vicente Martinez Espinel (1551-1624) is credited for having revived and polished the décima, a poetic form made up of ten lines of eight syllables each that is known today as decima espinela. The décima jibara or Puerto Rican folk song can be traced down to this poetic tradition, wherein Spanish medieval and Moresque roots can also be found

The jibaro troubadour faces an exacting challenge. He or she sings and improvises stanzas of ten eight-syllable lines. The lines must have consonant rhyme in a strict patter: A, B, B, A, A, C, C, D, D, C. Demands for specific metrics, rhyme and improvisation are further complicated by the "pie forzado" requisite that forces troubadours to compose decimas around end lines presented to them by the public, by a host, or by another troubadour.

This documentary portrays four renowned Puerto Rican decima troubadours as the come together to revive the Roundtable tradition and to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Don Quixote de la Mancha. While they sing other troubadours recount the history and explain the art of improvising décimas.


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