Banco Popular’s 'Qué Lindo es Puerto Rico' hits No. 4 on Top Latin Albums.
Just as a sudden snap of cold November weather reminds their relatives in New York that Christmas is on its way, the release of Banco Popular’s annual musical production has become a sure sign it's holiday time for residents of Puerto Rico. Those not familiar with Banco Popular's musical gift to the public, which has been an annual event for two decades, may be wondering why a title that sounds more like a slogan for a tourism campaign than an album is on the Billboard charts.
This year, as in other years, Banco Popular's seasonal recording doesn't hide its purpose -- to celebrate Puerto Rico’s musical and physical landscape. It's called Qué Lindo es Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico Is So Beautiful"), and an accompanying holiday TV special filmed at spots on the island that make you want to take the next plane there can now be viewed online.
The album is at No. 4 on the latest Top Latin Albums chart.
Banco Popular's holiday album is not only popular in Puerto Rico, a major Latin music market, it's a frequent holiday present for boricuas in the U.S. The CD, which came out in November, is already out of stock on Amazon. Priced at $10, the profits benefit music education on the island. The tracks are also availability digitally, though buying it that way would put an end to the anticipated arrival of a little package that, for some Puerto Rican families, has over the years acquired the totemic power of a household saint. Still, like other well-intentioned Christmas gifts, copies of Banco Popular CDs from years past frequently turn up on eBay.
Qué Lindo es Puerto Rico was conceived as a "road trip," spotlighting different styles of music and artists of different generations, sometimes together on the same track. The artists include hard salsa great Andy Montañez -- together with the roots music group Viento de Agua -- and sonero Ismael Miranda, who plays to emigrants' holiday nostalgia on the classic dance floor tear jerker "Pa los Boricuas Ausentes," together with salsa revivalist Pirulo.
Pedro Capó, who recently launched his career as a pop singer, shows his strengths on the bolero "Poquita Fe," written by his grandfather Bobby Capó, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular artists of all time. Kany Garcia's "Allá en la Altura" is another high point of an album that aims to offer a little something for everyone. Singer-songwriter Sie7e, surprisingly, recorded the Arrow novelty "Hot, Hot, Hot," complete with a New Year's countdown.
"With this musical production, we want to highlight the beauties of our country as well as the musical culture that surrounds us," says Banco Popular CEO Richard Carrión. "After more than 20 years [of producing these albums], we feel a great satisfaction when we see the positive effects that it has, not only in artistic terms but in the … power to give money to entities that foment the art of music in our young people."
Carrión did not say whether, after another success album release, he was finally considering leaving the bank and becoming a music executive.