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6. “Boricua en la Luna” — The Moon’s Distance

La Brega

WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios

Podcast, Puerto, San, Historia, La, De, Vieques, Juan, Rico, Society & Culture, Levittown, Noticias, Brega

4.91K Ratings

🗓️ 9 March 2023

⏱️ 33 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


“Boricua En La Luna” is a classic anthem about a young man born outside Puerto Rico, who dreams of going back to his parents’ home but never does. Based on a poem written by Juan Antonio Corretjer, the song vividly evokes themes of displacement and connection. And it asserts that Puertoricanness exists no matter where one lives, declaring, “yo seria borincano aunque naciera en la luna” – “I would be Puerto Rican even if I were born on the moon.” That got our team wondering: “what would happen if someone Puerto Rican were actually born on the moon?” We asked the acclaimed Puerto Rican writer Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón to answer the question in a short fictional story. Kelvin is the first human born on the moon, and finds himself growing up there alone. By listening to recordings sent by his grandmother, he learns to love the island he’s never seen. But when he finally meets someone else on the lunar surface, Kelvin is faced with a dilemma about his attachment to both the moon and to Puerto Rico, and how much he can hold onto his two identities. With performances by Keren Lugo (Jessica), Nancy Ticotin (Marielena) and Jesús del Orden (Kelvin). Our sound design for this work of audio fiction is by Joe Plourde. Listen to our Spotify playlist, featuring music from this episode – and this season. We’ll keep adding to it each week as new episodes come out. Special thanks this week to Kelly Gillespie, and to Ana María Dîaz Burgos, Orlando Javier Torres, Juanluis Ramos, and Olga Casanova-Burgess. And thank you to the other voices who brought this episode to life: Brian Lehrer, Melissa Harris Perry, Nancy Solomon, Stephen Nessen, Jeff Spurgeon, Kerry Nolan, Terrance McKnight, Brigid Bergin, Natalia Ramirez and Elliott Forrest. Additional music in this episode from Isaac Jones and Jared Paul. Fact checking this season is by Istra Pacheco and María Soledad Dávila Calero. This season of La Brega is made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

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listener supported WNYC Studios. Futuro.


From Futuro's studios and Wnyciec studios, I'm Alana Casanova Burgess, and this is La Brega.


And this is track six, Borico and La Luna, The Moon's Distance, our audio fiction episode. There's a poem,


Boricu and La Lunauna that became a song.


It was written by Juan Antonio Goreharajir from Sialis, like my mother,


and it was put to music and sung for the first time by Roy Brown. A mouger,


the Guadalajevino New York


a cantar.


It's a song about not being in Puerto Rico


as so many Puerto Rican anthems are. But the message isn't


only about yearning. It's about defiance, about holding on to your Puerto Ricanness wherever


you are. It's the ultimate diaspora song and it gets me every time.


The narrator is born in New York of parents who left the island and who dreamed of one day returning.


And it's a dream he shares as well.


There's a line.


He lives with the hope that one day he can reclaim what he has lost.


A Puerto Rico of dreams.


And then the most famous lines, the last two.


I'll say a boring can.


I would be Puerto Rican,


even if I were born on the moon.


That line, it says so much about what it means to be from this place and to hold on to that no


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