SAN JUAN — On October 6, composer and producer of the hit musical “Hamilton” Lin-Manuel Miranda released a musical tribute to the people of Puerto Rico. The tribute song “Almost Like Praying” features the voices of Puerto Rican stars in a heartfelt tribute to the island. The proceeds from the purchase of the song will go toward the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Relief Fund for Puerto Rico.
The artists featured on “Almost Like Praying” encompass not only several genres but also ages. Included on the track are the salsa greats Ruben Blades and Gilberto Santa Rosa; American rap musicians Joell Ortiz and Fat Joe; pop artists Marc Anthony, Camila Cabello and Luis Fonsi (of 2017 pop song “Despacito” fame); and actors Rita Moreno and John Leguizamo. Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin” even lends her own little-known rap talent to “Almost Like Praying.”
According to Lin-Manuel Miranda, he was “very aware even as it was happening” that Maria was the most damaging hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than a century. Miranda felt the name “Maria” would permanently have a negative meaning in Puerto Rico because of the storm. Because “Maria” is Miranda’s favorite song from West Side Story, the Tony-award winning playwright created “Almost Like Praying,” a musical tribute to the people of Puerto Rico. The first contacts Miranda made before he began composing the song were to the Leonard Bernstein estate and Stephen Sondheim’s office, seeking approval to use those lyrics in his tribute song.
Struck by the October 1 headline in the New York Times, “Many Towns in Puerto Rico Feeling Forgotten,” Lin-Manuel Miranda hopes that “Almost Like Praying” raises considerable funds for the humanitarian crisis and these towns never again feel forgotten.
To make a purchase that benefits the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Relief Fund for Puerto Rico, please download the song from AlmostLikePraying.com.
– Heather Hopkins