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PR Voices S1E9: The Puerto Rican Muse


Whether inspiration comes from the sounds of the island, the underground landscapes of New York City during the 1970s, or the celebration of puertorriqueñidad, the Puerto Rican muse extends itself to the creative process of each of the 3 artists featured on this week’s episode of Puerto Rican Voices.

To start things off, we visit with composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón. Originally from Carolina, Puerto Rico, Angélica moved to the United States after spending years in Old San Juan’s underground music scene. Acopladitos, an early childhood Spanish-language music education program she helped to design, is just one of the many projects that inspires her creativity. Angélica shares with us how the sounds of the island first influenced her music in New York City, the unique approach she takes toward composition, and her latest musical collaboration.

Next, we take you back a couple of decades to the birth of New York City’s graffiti art movement. Lee Quiñones is a legend. Born in Ponce, raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, he is known for being a member of the Fabulous 5, an influential group of artists that emerged from the New York City subway art movement during the 1970s. In this segment, Lee talks about his journey as an artist and guides us on a tour of a recent pop-up exhibit in Brooklyn celebrating his pioneering work from 1975-2015.

Lastly, we end this week’s episode of Puerto Rican Voices with the spoken-word poet and hip-hop artist known as Chilo, as he walks through the streets of New York City. He performs two of his pieces while reflecting on how he came to appreciate his Puerto Rican heritage. Chilo’s work can be described as an homage to the experience of Puerto Ricans in the US as well as an attempt to reclaim the history of our ancestors. He also discusses El Grito de Poetas, the Latino poetry collective he founded in 2005.

We hope these stories inspire you in some way and encourage you to share them with friends and family alike. As always, we’re available online at #BoricuasOnline. Enjoy!

© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 6 November 2015.