My first few months in Puerto Rico were spent being forced to wake up each morning when my dad woke up. He went out to the marquesina (driveways in Puerto Rico are generally used as TV/entertainment rooms) to turn on his old stereo, which was always set to his favorite station, Radio Oro 92.5. Easy listening in español.
He would then head to the maca (hammock) or to his favorite chair on the front porch, turn on the closest water fountain and sing away. He knew every word to every song and entertained the neighbors, or so he liked to think.
Just a few months later, the stereo broke and I was secretly happy—for a while. I began to notice that dad, without his music, lost a little of his light. He sat listless in a living room chair, rarely setting foot outside, while the fountains remained dry and silent.
It broke my heart.
I tried to cajole him into going outside by telling him that the neighbors missed his presence. It didn’t work.
Then one day I turned on my brother’s laptop and a lightbulb shined: iTunes!!! I created a Juan Luis Guerra playlist and played it for him.
It was the miracle drug I had been searching for. He quickly perked up and from that day on, he woke me each morning by yelling, “Wylbia, JLG, prende a JLG!” (turn on JLG). In my sleepy haze I’d run to the living room, turn it on and dad would often get up from his chair and pull me into a quick dance.
It warmed my heart.
I love that music has the power to bring light and happiness to us and I love Juan Luis Guerra. He was always one of my favorite artists, but what he did for my dad secured a place in my heart for him forever. He will always sing the theme to all of my days…