Tickets are on sale now for the June 17 Plena Libre concert at the Historic Fifth Street School in downtown Las Vegas. The audience will enjoy the music of Puerto Rico, brought to life with a swinging rhythm section, horns, vocals and dance by this group of four-time Grammy Award nominees. Tickets are priced at $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the auditorium at 401 S. Fourth St. For tickets and more information, call 229-3515 or visit online.
Led by founder Gary Nuñez through 15 years of worldwide performances and 13 albums, Plena Libre comprises an ensemble of 12 virtuoso musicians who focus their show on Puerto Rican plena and bomba musical traditions. Along with providing entertainment, Plena Libre, which has performed in 15 countries, educates their audiences about the traditional culture of Puerto Rico.
A combination of African, Spanish, and Caribbean sounds, plena was born in the barrios (slums) of Puerto Rico in the early 20th century. Starting as a solo pandero that quickly developed into a trio of interlocking pandero patterns that accompanied a call-and-response vocal style, plena soon evolved from music solely played by agricultural migrants to a popular form of social expression that recounted the daily lives of the island’s inhabitants. "Plena has been called 'the people's newspaper,'" says Nuñez, "because its songs recount the history of our land; it comments on and satirizes everyday life. You won't read its stories in history books."
Likewise, bomba is a style of Puerto Rican folk music that has its roots in African music and is dominated by percussion and by call-and-response vocals.
Presented by the city of Las Vegas, this program is funded in part by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on the band, go online to www.plenalibre.com.