Puerto Rico Sketchbook: There Are Dead in the Fields

Caguas2-1024x752Molly Crabapple at The Paris Review:

A cantastoria is a vagabond fusion of art and music, so old it turns up all over the world. In each set, a performer displays an illustrated scroll, then, while pointing to each image with a stick, tells a story in song. The cantastoria first developed in India as a way for itinerant performers to bring the legends of gods from door to door. By the time it hit Central Europe in the sixteenth century, it had mutated away from its sacred roots into a wandering carny show of sex, crime, and political sedition.

After the hurricane, the Puerto Rican puppetry collective Papel Machete created a new cantastoria: Solidarity and Survival for our Liberation. Estefanía Rivera painted the scroll; Isamar Abreu and Agustín Muñoz wrote the script. Muñoz, Sugeily Rodriguez Lebron, and Rocio Natasha Cancel piled into the Papel Machete van with their instruments and art and drove to the mutual-aid centers that had sprung up after Maria, and after neighborhoods realized that no help would come from the authorities. In fifteen centros, one each day, they unfurled their scroll in front of the lines of Puerto Ricans waiting for their arroz con pollo, and they began to sing.

more here.

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