Student Paula Giraldo of Berklee’s Latin American Music Business Association writes in from San Juan.

Since yesterday we have been preparing for one of Latin music’s biggest events of the year: The Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards.

This conference, one of the world’s hottest Latin music events, is a place where today’s top artists, agents, promoters, record label executives, publicists, brand marketing executives, managers, media, digital music executives and many more music business executives, get together to discuss hot button topics and celebrate Latin music. It is a place of networking and learning that culminates with the Latin Billboard Awards, a celebration honoring top artists on today’s Latin Billboard charts!

A small group of Berklee students, part of Berklee’s LAMBA (Latin American Music Business Association) are all arriving today in the enchanting city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. We will be getting together this afternoon to go to today’s highlight: the peermusic Kick-Off Showcase! Featuring live performances from over six different Latin artists.

Having arrived a couple of days early I have been able to get to know a little bit of this beautiful city. Its people are enchanting and friendly, and although English is widely spoken all around the official language of the island is Spanish, spoken in a very authentic dialect which always makes you smile.

The city is full of different flavors, colors, and music. Old San Juan preserves old Spanish colonial architecture and structures, an awe inspiring environment full of traces of the birth of a nation. A place where history blends in perfectly with modern world everyday life and the beauty of your surroundings will captivate your heart. Music plays in every corner, having a strong place in Puerto Rican culture—you hear everything from salsa to Reggaeton, and a little bit of everything in between.

Last night, upon arrival at the hotel I was welcomed by a Latin music group playing salsa, mambo and old school songs from my grandparents’ time. It was absolutely amazing! There were congas, bongos, keys, bass, drums and the most ridiculous horn section I have heard in a long time! Every note on every song was played to perfection with an unmistakable Latin flavor. People from every age group were dancing as they arrived, and the hotel reception was an astonishing sight of human bonding through the sounds of music. The coolest sight, without a doubt, was an older couple, who despite their age had moves that I had seen only very few times before. While the music was playing there were no limits, they were two kids in their twenties who moved to the music with ease, comfort and expertise. They told in silent movement, a story of love and friendship unlike any other, surrounded by so many different generations of new stories to come. It was like being in another world. The music inspired every single one of us who were there. You could see it in everyone’s eyes and the movement of their bodies, automatically following the pounding of the drums.

Puerto Rico is rich in life. Combining this culture with the happenings of modern Latin music will be an experience unlike any other. So many people to meet and so many things to do—it seems like we do not even have enough time.

I can’t wait for the whole group to be together. We are going to have a great time, meet great people and we will be sure to keep you posted on how everything is going in this awesome journey!