Folkloric Festival

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Hard-hitting horns, master hand drummers, and songs from the soul of Puerto Rico

About Plena Libre

Captivating and moving audiences over the course of a 23-year, 15-album career, this fine-tuned Puerto Rican-based ensemble of virtuoso musicians has only gotten better with age, as evidenced by their four recent Grammy nominations and world-wide touring schedule.

Plena Libre infuses their contemporary Caribbean compositions with a deep sense of the unique indigenous musical traditions, known as “plena” and “bomba”, which developed on the island over a century ago. Unlike salsa bands, who usually only have two singers, Plena Libre features three vocalists singing in lush three and four part harmonies; a musical representation of a traditional community gathering. Further giving their live performances a memorable standout quality, occasionally, the entire band will vocalize the percussion parts of the plena, creating an a cappella polyphonic polyrhythm. These artistic choices drive home the core of the tradition in an aesthetic that appeals to broad audiences and aficionados alike. With an aggressive, tight, yet sensitive style, which balances the traditional with the contemporary, the global and the local, Plena Libre creates a brand of music and live performance that is both profoundly Puerto Rican and universally appealing.

"The biggest band to play plena... Plena Libre knows the tradition but aren't afraid to draw upon stuff from outside the genre to keep it fresh" -The Village Voice 

With an aggressive, tight, yet sensitive style, which balances the traditional with the contemporary, the global and the local, Plena Libre creates a brand of music and live performance that is both profoundly Puerto Rican and universally appealing. Filtering the sounds of various Afro-Caribbean forms like merengue and cumbia, and Afro-Cuban like mambo and yes, salsa if you ask nicely through a unique set of artistic sensibilities, this versatile collection of expert performers create a celebratory spectacle and engaging sonic ecstasy. Thrilling audiences around the world, from the Fez Festival (in Morocco) to the Playboy Jazz Festival, Plena Libre is a train that just keeps picking up steam as it charges ahead in unexpected and exciting directions.

“Plena Libre is one of the most outstanding shows we’ve ever had... superlative and excellent in every way!” Michael Savage, Napa Valley Opera House

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Gary Nuñez

“The crowd went wild.” —Sun Sentinel (Florida).

“Plena Libre has given a new era to this wonderful rhythm plena” — Daily News (NYC)

“The biggest band to play plena… Plena Libre know the tradition but aren’t afraid to draw upon stuff from outside the genre to keep it fresh” — The Village Voice

“Where would the contemporary bomba and plena be without Gary Nuñez of Plena Libre” (5 Star Review) — The New York Post

“Plena Libre stole the show.” — Latin Beat Magazine

“The band… conquered the stage with their unique, yet sophisticated sound, a fascinating blend of folkloric tunes with contemporary beats such as salsa, samba and reggae. To watch a Plena Libre’s performance is to witness a realm where tradition truly meets modernity.”— NY Mosaico

“Plena Libre made a strong impression because of their musicality, togetherness, growth and dynamism on stage.” — El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico)

“Tropical music will never be the same after the emerging of the vigorous group, Plena Libre.” — The San Juan Star

 “Tres chic” — Liberation (France)

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Día Nacional de la Salza Puerto Rico 2014

Plena Libre stole the show.” —Latin Beat Magazine