It is well known by now that the island Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was significantly devastated in late September by Hurricane Maria, one of the strongest storms yet unleashed by the unusually busy 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. In the wake of its turbulent winds, storm surges, and heavy rainfall, the US territory was so damaged in terms of infrastructure that even now, electricity has been restored to only 9% of its residents, most of which also lack running water.

Amid the slow arrival of relief assistance and some back-and-forth arguments between territorial officials and the Federal government, one of Puerto Rico’s most famous sons, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is taking action to raise more relief for his home.

All-star singing ensemble

Singer-songwriter, composer, playwright and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda is bringing his considerable musical star power to bear in assembling a who’s who of artists to join him in a benefit song.

On the evening of Thursday, October 5, “Almost Like Praying” was released online. Joining Miranda on this performance for a cause are some of the shining luminaries of Latino music from past and present. The song is sampled from “Maria,” a number from the musical “West Side Story,” and its lyrics are mostly a list of all the towns in Puerto Rico.

The performers who joined with Miranda for “Almost Like Praying” include Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Ana Villafañe, Tommy Torres, PJ Sin Suela, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Ramos, Joell Ortiz, Ednita Nazario, Rita Moreno, Alex Lacamoire, Fat Joe, Dessa, Pedro Capó, Camila Cabello, Rubén Blades.

Also lending their vocal talents are actor John Leguizamo and Lin-Manuel’s fellow current-generation Puerto Rican superstar Luis Fonsi, singer of “Despacito” itself. Fans who would like to hear their work and donate to the relief of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria can download the song from iTunes.

Help for Puerto Rico

Not even having a busy schedule and a load of prospective projects could keep Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent and has lived on the territory with his grandparents, from pitching in when Puerto Rico needs help most.

He is also one of the most vocal critics of the pace of response by the US government on Hurricane Maria, even having some sharp words for President Donald Trump when he lambasted similar complaints from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

Miranda’s initiative with the “Almost Like Praying” benefit song for Puerto Rico is but the latest of similar actions taken by stars in the music scene in the wake of great calamities.

The musical heavyweight has also done the same for the victims of Hurricane Harvey back in August and early September.

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