Friday again and my Friday theme post is a little late since I was working at l’Alliance Francaise all afternoon yesterday and when I came home there had been another powercut and my laptop wouldn’t start up again (I have a new battery but unfortunately it is not working properly (glappkontakt for you Swedes) so the computer still dies when there is a powercut), so I couldn’t prepare the post yesterday. Fortunately for me, O couldn’t sleep yesterday evening and got up in the middle of the night to try to “wake up” my computer – it worked!!
My idea with today’s theme was to write a little about Puerto Rico’s music scene – I am not an expert so it gives me an excuse to learn more as well! The Lonely Planet for Puerto Rico has six pages devoted to local music, which might give you an indication of the importance music has in the culture. Salsa, reggaeton, bomba and plena are some of the music styles that are typical to Puerto Rico.
But let’s start with salsa – especially as O and I had the opportunity to see one of the most famous salsa groups live a few weeks ago; El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico! The group was founded already in 1962 but they are still going strong, despite getting a bit old (think Buena Vista Social Club). I think that I counted to 12 persons up on the stage, playing different instruments and singing, and making some dance moves! Since I am not an expert, I will not write more – just click on the link if you want to know more, and check out this youtube clip! The song is very appropriately called Arroz con habichuela (Rice with beans, a staple dish in Puerto Rico!):
Reggaeton is a mix of salsa, reggae and hip hop, and very popular on the island – last night O and I walked past a guy who was sitting outside his car, with the volume of the car stereo on maximum… That is usually how I hear reggaeton – blaring from the loudspeakers of a car driving by. I still haven’t seen the perreo (dog dance – I am sure that you can imagine what it is like just from the name) live but I guess that it is an experience you don’t soon forget (especially if you are a guy, ha ha). One of the most famous reggaeton artists is Daddy Yankee (who to my Spanish teacher’s disappointment is supporting McCain – see links in Speaking Boricua’s post) and you might have heard the song Gasolina which was very popular a few years ago. Daddy Yankee is starring in the new film Talento de Barrio, showing at the local cinemas at the moment.
Many Puerto Rican performers are world famous such as Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony, however both J Lo and Marc Anthony were born in New York City, but to Puerto Rican parents. Nevertheless, there are other famous artists from Puerto Rico, or at least they are famous in the Spanish-speaking world, for example Chayanne. I had never heard of the singer before we moved to Puerto Rico, but O says that he is very popular also in Spain. Chayanne has been featuring on billboards around San Juan lately as he is starring as a vampire (!!) in a television series called Gabriel.
I realised when writing this post that I need to learn more about Puerto Rican music, embarrassingly enough I only have one cd with local music and that is the Putumayo compilation that you can buy in all souvenir shops! I hope to come back to the subject in the future with more inside information (I will study the local music channel Video Max in the meantime)…
Well, it is high time to check out the local music of the other Friday theme bloggers:
Anki, Anna, Anne, Anne-Marie, Annika, Aurorabuddha, Barbamorsan, Cecilia, Desiree, Inga-Britt, Jemayá, Kicki, Leopardia, Lia, Lullun, Marianne, Marie, Marina, Millan, MKB, Nilla, Nina, Petra, Saltis, Simone, Strandmamman, Ulrika, Victoria and 30+ kvinna in the city.