Puerto Rican Marco Santos tells us about Puerto Rico in London for our World in London project.
Long ago I got fed up with fantastic weather, great food and generous people and decided to leave Puerto Rico for other shores.
After years in the US, and generally wandering about, I’ve settled in London which fulfils two of the above three and adds two millennia worth of culture and history!
Still, as the song goes and like most of us who end up leaving, I do long for Viejo San Juan.
Salsa in London
What you will get in London is a big helping of our musical exports, be they pop icons (shake your bon-bons please Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin) or our sizeable contribution to the well-known musical genre of salsa, which most of us have been dancing to since we were toddlers.
Reggaeton in London
More recently (well, in the last five years or so) you’ll have heard some of our more heavily street hip-grinding beats of reggeaton: seeded in Panama, developed in Puerto Rico and exploding throughout the Latin American community.
Artists like Wisin & Yandel, Don Omar, Daddy Yankee and my personal favourite Tego Calderon do make the trip and put on a wild show. Special mention reserved for cross-over artists Calle 13, who have taken a very strong political message and broader musical style and chalked up countless Grammies as a result.
Go to a gig – the energy is spectacular and you won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing. Or you can check out a reggaeton club, where you’ll likely find a higher concentration of the broader Latin community.
More Puerto Rican Culture in London
The few of us who are in London are often students or professionals and the community is so small that we don’t have any restaurants, markets or organizations. If you know of any, I’d love to hear of them!
Do you have any more tips for sampling Puerto Rican culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.