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PR Voices S2E1: Season Premiere

Centro Staff

We are back for a new season of Puerto Rican Voices, sharing new experiences and places where the voice of the Puerto Rican community resonates. From Central Florida to Philadelphia, to Chicago and to New York, our stories highlight the contributions made by Puerto Ricans across the United States. These include some of our most vibrant neighborhoods, both old and new.

This season we take you deeper into the heart of the Puerto Ricans stateside, expanding our coverage, as we tale you into established and newer areas where the Puerto Rican spirit and culture lives on.

We kick off this season with stories that befit a first new episode: In these different settings and contexts, the stories share the purpose of exposing the Puerto Rican culture to new audiences.

First, we present the voices of author Raquel M. Ortiz and illustrator María Domínguez, who speak to us through a special new children’s book. Raquel is a professor of Social Anthropology at Boricua College. Having focused her research on the impact of mural art on the Puerto Rican community, she has authored the book El arte de la identidad, and the documentary Memories on the Wall: Education and Enrichment through Community Murals. María Domínguez, a long-time resident of New York, and a visual artist that has been vital to the community of the city. Her work has facilitated a deeper understanding of the Puerto Rican community, that connects the individual and the community to the larger history of the world. Their children’s book, Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural, intends to engage with and explore Puerto Rican figure of the vejigante and the music of plena. The story is based on María Domínguez’s own mural work, El Pueblo Cantor, located in the Bronx. Domínguez and Ortiz speak on the importance of children learning about one’s culture through celebration, art, and music; on the importance of being proud of one’s own culture no matter where one recedes; and on maintaining alive the symbols that bind us.

Next up, we introduce you to the Orlando, Florida artist Pedro Brull. He speaks on his personal life growing up throughout the island, eventually moving to the states to retire and become a full-time painter. In Florida, he identified the need to give emerging and establish Puerto Ricans artists the opportunity to expose in places for new eyes to see. This impetus led him to organize “La Diaspora,” a group of Puerto Rican artists whose goal is to open new venues to show their work.

Finally, we present you the Chicago bomba group Buya. This Chicago-based ensemble aims to preserve and enhance the bomba tradition, in an attempt to create bridges of communication between the diaspora and their roots in the island of Puerto Rico. This commitment takes them to showcase their work to a variety of audiences, throwing themselves into any opportunity to present their artistry. Follow them as they speak on their development and dance about some unexpected places that may surprise (and inspire) you.

And that’s it for this week’s episode. We hope you’re looking forward to this new season of Puerto Rican Voices, and hope you leave this video looking to celebrate the Puerto Rican culture with us! Join the conversation in #boricuasonline. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And stay tune for next week’s episode of Puerto Rican Voices!

© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 12 February 2016.