Plena, also nicknamed “el periodico cantado (“the sung newspaper”), formed as a distinct Puerto Rican musical genre in the late 1800s when sugar cane plantation laborers, manual workers and former slaves moved to the urban areas and communicated the news of the day to each other through music and dance. A plena ensemble consists of a variety of percussion instruments such as guiros, congas, timbales, maracas and panderos (small tamborines), as well as a 4-stringed Puerto Rican guitar known as a cuatro. The plena has no fixed rhythmic form, but, unlike bomba which is primarily African, weaves in a multitude of rhythms from Puerto Rico’s Spanish, African and Taino cultures. Enjoy the plena by grooving along with these gentlemen, who obviously are celebrating after having just came back from a great day together shopping at the red shirt store.
COUNTRY: Puerto Rico (U.S.)
KEY INSTRUMENTS: Accordion, Bass, Cuatro, Guiro, Pandeiro, Saxophone, Trombone
SONG ON AATW: LATIN AMERICA CD: La Luna
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