By Elizabeth Valentin
It has been two weeks since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, leaving it destroyed. There have been a number of fundraising events across the nation that have aimed to help the island recover from this event. Lin-Manuel Miranda is jumping on the bandwagon and doing his part to help.
On Friday, Miranda released his newest song, “It’s Almost Like Praying.” All of the proceeds from this song will go towards the relief benefit for Puerto Rico.
This song includes artists from all over the Latin music community including Marc Anthony, Camila Cabello, Jennifer Lopez, Gina Rodriguez and Luis Fonsi to name a few.
Miranda is a Puerto Rican native, and has a list of achievements that include his musicals “In the Heights” and “Hamilton,” and worked on the music for one of Disney’s newest films, “Moana.” With all of the projects that he has been working on, he made sure to do what he thought would help the disheveled island.
The song title and opening lines of the song are a nod to “A Westside Story.” One of the main characters in the film is Maria, who was from Puerto Rico. This film has become a significant for Puerto Ricans because of the inclusion of their culture in a mainstream American movie as early as 1961.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Miranda said that he “realized very quickly that this is the worst hurricane in Puerto Rico’s modern history and Maria is always going to have a different connotation from here on out.” This song sends a subtle reminder that the name Maria is a part of Puerto Rico. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Miranda said that Maria is “also the name of my favorite song from West Side Story. So my brain was already looking for a sample to flip.”
In his “CBS This Morning” interview, Miranda explains that he wanted to have all of Puerto Rico represented, which is part of the reason why he included as many Latinx artists as he could. “I got them all on mic just telling me their favorite Puerto Rico memories and it deepened the connection between all of us,” he said in the interview.
After tragedies, people often look to music for comfort. For the people of Puerto Rico and those who live in the states that have been affected by this hurricane, this song is another example of the healing power the music possesses.