Throughout this first season, we’ve often looked to the past, celebrating the Puerto Rican traditions and history that have survived decades of diaspora. And sometimes, when looking back, we find new things to appreciate or learn to better understand our community. In this season finale of Puerto Rican Voices, that’s just what happened. Through the lens, behind closed doors, or a subversive canvas, our history shows up with renewed vigor the more we attempt to preserve it for the coming generations.
Charlie Rosario, a Brooklyn-born Boricua, may not be a household name, but anyone familiar with the album covers of the golden age of Latin music in the 1970s has definitely come across his work at some point. And that’s because Charlie’s canvas, while modest in terms of size, played a huge part in introducing this music with iconic visuals and creative illustrations of the Latino community it represented. He later went on to produce paintings, sculptures, collage art, and more-continuing into the present day. We caught up with Charlie at the Bronx Music Heritage Center during a shared exhibition with artist Pablo Yglesias and also in his workshop to hear the serendipitous origins of his most celebrated collaborations.
For our last segment, we visited the Bomba and Plena Children’s Workshop, a program offered by the non-profit arts organization Pleneros de la 21, an East-Harlem institution housed in the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center. Serving as yet another example of the past meeting present, the classes encourage children and adults alike to learn and share the sense of community that bomba and plena can provide. It is one of the most evocative and direct examples of how community can combine both past and present to inspire future generations and renew the passions of the older ones.
Well, that’s a wrap for us. We hope you enjoyed the first season of Puerto Rican Voices and join us for season two. The entire season, all 10 episodes, are available online. In the meantime, you can check out weekly issues of Centro Voices and stay connected to the Centro community by using the hashtag #BoricuasOnline and following us on social media. Thank you again for checking out the show and we’ll see you soon!
© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 13 November 2015.