Couples sway to the music, hand in hand, step matched for measured step. But we’re not in Austria, or Vienna…we’re in Ponce, Puerto Rico…and YOU’RE on the Sound Beat.”


Known as the Puerto Rican Mozart, Juan Morel Campos is the composer of “Mascaras Alegres”. It’s a form of danza, a genre of Puerto Rican origin. Its slow, romantic rhythm sets the ambiance for elegant, ballroom style dancing. Morel Campos was himself a deep romantic, and composed many of his danzas about his one true love, Mercedes Arias…and, kind of, about her family. See, they never quite approved of Juan, and the titles of his danzas seem to reflect the anguish this caused him. Like: Maldito Amor (Damned Love), Tormento (Torment), Si te toco (Yes, I will Touch You) and No Me Toques (Do Not Touch Me). Mascaras Alegres (Happy Masks) describes his concealed emotion surrounding their eventual, and devastating, breakup.




This episode was written in part by Syracuse University student Juceliz Batista, part of the Sound Beat Class Partnership.