La Brega: A Podcast About the Puerto Rican Experience

In the past several years, I’ve suffered a lot of loss, besides the turmoil of the pandemic, my mother, my uncle, my aunt, and my newly discovered father passed away. My 15-year-old, beloved, Siamese cat became terminally ill. While besotted with this dense anticipatory and complicated grief, lots of wonderful things also happened: I got married to an amazing man, changed jobs, had my son, moved and planted a garden. To say my sense of identity has become hazy, an indistinct thing, is no exaggeration.

On the heels of the podcasting phenomenon triggered by Serial, I found solace in listening to podcasts during my commute. Especially ones that covered gripping and true stories, even ghastly crimes and supernatural which I’ve learned is actually quite typical when life seems out of control.

I was delighted recently to discover La Brega, a seven-part podcast series created by a team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians, and artists about life, politics, and history on the island. Produced by WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios, it’s hosted by New York-born Puerto Rican journalist Alana Casanova-Burgess. I missed hearing my mother tongue, the idioms and speech patterns of my people, mi gente, de los Boricuas. This podcast soothes the hole in my heart and reminds me of home, a place not on the map, but in my heart.

Oye como va!

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