Lin-Manuel Miranda Assembles All-Star Ensemble for Puerto Rican Relief Song
Music| | By Brian Delpozo
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has assembled a veritable All-Star team of musical performers for a song entitled “Almost Like Praying.” The song is a tribute to the Hurricane Maria-battered island of Puerto Rico.
Miranda, who recruited artists including Gina Rodriguez, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Fat Joe, Marc Anthony, and Rita Moreno for the track, explained its origins to USA Today.
“I, like pretty much anyone with family on the island, I shared with every Puerto Rican those terrible days of silence after the storm hit, when there was just no communication from the island,” he explained. “I heard from my family four days after, five days after — some people are still waiting.”
Miranda decided to eschew a “somber” tribute track, instead penning a danceable pop tune. The track samples “Maria” from the musical West Side Story.
“The name ‘Maria’ forever has a negative connotation for this island,” he said. “It’s the worst storm in 100 years. It’s also the name of my favorite song from West Side Story. I kept thinking about that song, so I took a sample from the song ‘Maria’ to flip it — to literally flip the sample the same way we’re trying to flip the natural disaster into something positive.”
Miranda has been vocal in his disapproval of President Donald Trump’s handling of disaster relief in Puerto Rico. (He went as far as to say that the president was “going to hell.”) According to the composer, his comment towards Trump are driven by his desire to help those on the island, a desire he’ll continue expressing publicly.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 30, 2017
“This is the worst storm in 100 years and it requires the most robust response in years. And I will jump up and down and make noise until I see that response happening,” he explained.
“Almost Like Praying” can be purchased through digital music retailers, with proceeds going to the UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund.