Before there was “Despacito” there was a heartfelt homage to “La Perla” by Puerto Rican musician and poet ‘Residente Calle 13’. The lyrics are in Puerto Rican Spanish (there’s a somewhat passable English translation here), but you don’t need to understand the words to appreciate the lay of the land, the atmosphere of the landscape and the vibrant sense of community. In this performance, Residente is accompanied by Panamanian musician Rubén Blades and his samba band Chilinga. Residente’s lyrics can be a bit crude, but they’re pure poetry. One of my favorite images is from the refrain “La noche me sirve de sabana” – The night is my blanket.
And from El Nuevo Día, one of Puerto Rico’s daily newspapers, there’s this coverage of La Perla in the aftermath of Maria. The dialog is in Spanish, but the video can be appreciated by any viewer. It’s painfully obvious that much work will be needed to restore the physical structures, but also obvious that La Perla’s spirit is indomitable.
We at San Diego Free Press love watching all kinds of video. Those short visual stories entertain, inform, and agitate in a way completely different from the written word.
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So the idea here is to present videos one or more of the editors feel speaks to them. Sometimes it will be news. Sometimes it will be history. And a lot of the time it will be culture. You can not and should not separate these things: it is diversity and intersectionality that makes our movement strong.
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