Between the prospect of nuclear war and the myriad of natural disasters occurring around the globe, it's hard to know where to turn our attention these days, isn't it? This week, as an island of 3.5 million of our fellow Americans sits without power and largely without running water, I wanted to take some time to honor the rich culture of music, food, and drink from this beautiful island.
Puerto Rico, estamos contigo!
Puerto Rico has a massively diverse and fabulous musical tradition, stemming from the continent of Africa (rhythms and drumming, especially), Europe (primarily religious music from Spain), and of course the Caribbean. The danza of the 19th century forms the basis of much of the popular dance rhythms and music of today. The leader of the pack was Juan Morel Campos – half Dominican, half Venezuelan – who composed over 550 pieces of music in his short 38 years, including symphonies, operas, waltzes, and, of course, danzas. His danzas are largely based on stories of unrequited love. "No me toques" is one of his best known. The list of amazing music and musicians is far too long to include here but try some of José Feliciano's music (yes, he wrote way more than just "Feliz Navidad"), and let us know what you think. And of course then there's Luis Fonsi...
Have you ever noticed that rum is one of those drinks you buy around the holidays, perhaps to bake a rum cake or some other dessert, and then leave sitting around the liquor cabinet all year collecting dust? Yep... I might just be one of those people. Puerto Rico's climate makes it ideal for growing the sugar cane from which rum is made. In fact, about 80% of the rum consumed in the U.S. comes from Puerto Rico so let's keep it going!! The most well-known rum drinks, of course, are the piña colada and the daiquiri but why stop there? Here is a list of another 10 other delicious rum-based cocktails to check out while you're listening to the danzas and other amazing melodies from Puerto Rico.