J.Lo, Este­fan, Mi­randa and Fonsi sing to help Puerto Rico

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - KICKOFF -

NEW YORK — “Hamil­ton” cre­ator Lin-Manuel Mi­randa re­leased a new orig­i­nal song Fri­day to raise money for Puerto Ri­can hur­ri­cane re­lief and he’s en­listed some of the big­gest Latin stars in mu­sic to help.

“Al­most Like Pray­ing” fea­tures Jennifer Lopez, Marc An­thony, Camila Ca­bello, Glo­ria Este­fan, Fat Joe, Luis Fonsi, John Leguizamo and Rita Moreno, among many others. All pro­ceeds from the down­load and stream go to The His­panic Fed­er­a­tion’s dis­as­ter re­lief fund .

“I was like ev­ery Puerto Ri­can with ties to the is­land, with fam­ily on the is­land. We all had a ter­ri­ble few days of si­lence. For some, those days were weeks,” Mi­randa told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “For me, that help­less­ness turned into, ‘OK, well what can I write that will help? Can I write a tune that we can mon­e­tize?’”’

Mi­randa said he made an a cap­pella demo in a bath­room in Aus­tria — where he was on va­ca­tion — and sent it to At­lantic Records, en­list­ing help. The sub­se­quent record­ing process took a breath-tak­ing 72 hours and took him to stu­dios in New York City, Los Angeles and Mi­ami to link up with the mu­sic stars. “Every­one said yes and then it be­came the lo­gis­tics of get­ting every­one recorded,” he said.

The song bor­rows from “Maria,” the clas­sic song from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sond­heim’s “West Side Story” and Mi­randa said the song popped into his head af­ter the hur­ri­cane by the same name dev­as­tated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.

The song’s lyrics list all of the 78 towns of Puerto Rico. Mi­randa said he didn’t want in­land and moun­tain­ous com­mu­ni­ties to be ig­nored as big­ger ci­ties get power and food.

“This song is de­signed so that those towns never feel for­got­ten again,” he said. “I can­not wait for Puerto Ri­cans to hear Luis Fonsi sing the name of their town or J.Lo to sing the name of their town.”

Also fea­tured on the song are Ruben Blades, Pe­dro Capo, Dessa, Juan Luis Guerra, Alex La­camoire, Ed­nita Nazario, Joell Or­tiz, An­thony Ramos, Gina Ro­driguez, Gil­berto Santa Rosa, Tommy Tor­res and Ana Vil­lafane. (Ricky Martin and Daddy Yan­kee were too busy with re­lief ef­forts to join in). “Every­one is do­ing their part. I’ve never seen such mo­bi­liza­tion in my life,” Mi­randa said.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Top row from left, Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez; and bot­tom row from left, Camilla Ca­bello, Marc An­thony and Luis Fonsi.

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