Riqueza del Barrio: Puerto Rican Music in the United States

For a full month, the fate of Puerto Rico and its inhabitants has remained unknown due to the devastating effects of the Category 4 Hurricane Maria during the unusually active hurricane season of 2017. There are still many people on the island living without electricity or potable water and in desperate need of assistance. This week we are airing a special Hip Deep encore presentation of “Riqueza del Barrio: Puerto Rican Music in the United States,” produced by Ned Sublette, to help raise awareness and celebrate the vibrant music and culture of Puerto Rico. To find out how you can help, please visit http://www.afropop.org/39658/hurricane-relief/

Once Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens in 1917, El Barrio sprang up in New York. By the 1930s, they were the dominant Latin group in the city. Tito Puente, born on 110th St. in 1923, was the first important Latin star who was a native speaker of English. Puerto Ricans’ distinctive way of playing popular Cuban styles became, almost paradoxically, an expression of Puerto Rican national identity, even as traditional Puerto Rican bomba and plena became a familiar sound in New York, and as Ricans invented a unique jazz style. In the last few years, reggaetón has dominated Latin radio internationally. “Riqueza del Barrio” will explore Puerto Rico’s distinctive cultural identity as expressed through flavorful music. Produced by Hip Deep cofounder Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and Its Music, with guest scholar Juan Flores, author of From Bomba to Hip-Hop.