Based on the poem Loisaida (1974) by Bimbo Rivas
I have recently been writing music that is inspired by my upbringing on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Bimbo Rivas was a Puerto Rican-born poet, activist, and community builder who became a hero of the Lower East Side, leading in the affordable housing development projects that shaped our community in the 70s and 80s, bringing it out of the ashes of neglect and decay that had taken over in the previous decades. Loisaida is an ode to the community he loved and fought for most of his adult life. I have set this poem to music in tribute to Bimbo who fostered my upbringing in immeasurable ways.
Permission to use the text is courtesy of Bimbo’s daughter, Sandra Rivas.
— Jessie Montgomery
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