Minnesota musicians come together to help Puerto Rico

Tufawon performs in The Current studio, 2017. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

Ever since hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island has been struggling with limited power, water, and fuel. Musicians in Minnesota are stepping up to do their part with shows including a Kitty Cat Club fundraiser tomorrow called “Fuerza” — Spanish for “strength” — as well as a Tom Petty tribute tonight at the Turf Club, and a Monday night benefit at Memory Lanes.

Tomorrow’s fundraiser is being hosted by Niles and features performances by Lady Midnight, Proper T, Tufawon, Mixie DBest, and Lula Saleh. Michael Be and Minnie Blanco will be the DJs, and live art is provided by Jordan Hamilton and Bella Yaga.

The event has no cover, but donations are encouraged. All proceeds will go to El Fondo Boricua, which is a foundation organized in collaboration with the Puerto Ricans in Minnesota Committee. Local artist Maria Isa is one of the founders of the Puerto Ricans in Minnesota Committee.

One of the artist involved in organizing the event is Tufawon. Tufawon, a.k.a. Rafael Gonzalez, is a Puerto Rican and Dakota rapper from Minneapolis. He had already planned the fundraiser at the Kitty Kat Club with another foundation in mind when Hurricane Maria hit.

“Initially this was going to be a fundraiser for another organization,” says Gonzalez. “I had everything planned out. I had the whole lineup planned. Once I got word about Puerto Rico and the devastation that Hurricane Maria left I immediately switched it and turned it into a fundraiser for Puerto Rico.”

Helping out was a no-brainer for Gonzalez, who has family on the island. “I have aunties in Puerto Rico that need their medicine. So right now I’m living through this anxiety and this frustration and just this feeling in the back of my mind that at any point, who knows, one of my family members could starve to death.”

Tons of relief concerts have been popping up all over social media. Gonzalez says that the Puerto Ricans here in the Twin Cities are partially to thank for that. “I think the voices of our small Boricua community are clear and they’re loud. We just have a strong resilient and vibrant community.”

A Celebration of the Life and Music of Tom Petty

When: Wednesday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m.
Where: Turf Club
Cost: $10. 21+

Fuerza Fundraiser

When: Thursday, Oct. 5, 10 p.m.
Where: Kitty Cat Club
Cost: No cover, donations encouraged. 21+

Hurricane Relief Benefit: General B & The Wiz, The Plott Hounds, RLGDPPL

When: Sunday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.
Where: The Hook & Ladder Theater
Cost: $7 advance/ $10 door. $1 of each ticket is donated. 21+

Benefit for Puerto Rico with Frankie Teardrop and the Florists

When: Monday, Oct. 9, 10 p.m.
Where: Memory Lanes
Cost: Free to enter, donations encouraged. Up to $250 of donations will be matched by corporate sponsors. 21+

El Asopao: An Afro-Latinx Jam Session Benefit

When: Thursday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Black Dog Café
Cost: $10 suggested donation.

Jeyca Maldonado-Medina is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. She has worked for MPR News and Radio K.

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