San Juan – Puerto Rican singer Kany Garcia released Tuesday his first Christmas song "Yo No Tengo Na'" (I Don't Have Anything), with which he hopes to get Puerto Rico excited about celebrating the holidays to offset the problems of violence on the island this year.
Garcia told a press conference Tuesday that with the song he is trying "to awaken patriotic feelings and remind people how Christmas is celebrated in Puerto Rico," believed to have the longest Christmas season in the world.
Christmas in Puerto Rico starts on Thanksgiving and goes out with a bang at the end of January with partying up and down San Sebastian street in Old San Juan.
For almost two months, Puerto Ricans take the occasion to share suckling pig with rice, pigeon peas and beans, pastries stuffed with mashed plantain or with cassava and blood pudding, succulent dishes washed down with coquito - rum with coconut milk - followed by coconut-based desserts like tembleque pudding and majarete...and more rum, all the better if it's homemade.
People sing Christmas songs from the island and those typical of Spain, but instead of marking the beat with a bottle of anis, they do it with a cowbell, maracas and the güiro, a percussion instrument made from a gourd.
"The song says there are no Christmases like the ones we have here. We often think of traveling somewhere outside of Puerto Rico to spend the holidays, but really there's nowhere like this island," Garcia said.
The Grammy-winning artist noted that it was "a challenge" and a "complicated" process to compose a song blending pop with traditional Christmas music.