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Tuesday October 4th

Puerto Rican group 'Los Pleneros de la 21' gives dance, music workshops

	<p>Los Pleneros de la 21 will present two workshops and perform at <span class="caps">UNC</span> this weekend. They are an inter-generational music group.</p>
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Los Pleneros de la 21 will present two workshops and perform at UNC this weekend. They are an inter-generational music group.

A taste of Latin flavor is coming to UNC today from the Spanish Harlem of New York City, by means of the inter-generational music group “Los Pleneros de la 21.”

The Puerto Rican group, formed in 1983, will present two workshops today and will perform typical Puerto Rican music and dance on Saturday.


Time: 7 p.m. Saturday
Location: Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Stone Center

The group, composed of nine members, practices two traditional forms of Puerto Rican styles of music, including “la plena” and “la bomba.”

Clarissa Goodlett, program and public communications officer at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, described the group as a mixture of African and Puerto Rican music, both dating back to the 17th century.

“We are always looking for groups that fit our mission of exploring diaspora cultures, and LP21 fits because it’s Afro-Puerto Rican,” she said.

The Stone Center also received grants from two departments on campus, the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative and the Music Department, to bring the group to UNC.

“We are very excited to bring the group to the community and we have subsidized the performance to make it more accessible for students and non-students,” Goodlett said.

Josmell Perez, coordinator of the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, is also on the board of advisers for the Stone Center and wanted the group to revisit Chapel Hill.

The group visited UNC in 2009 and the campus radiated energy, Perez said.

“They are a good example of the richness of our culture and the intersects of our history.”

Juan Alamo, assistant professor in the music department, collaborated with Joseph Jordan, director of the Stone Center, to invite “Los Pleneros de la 21.”

The music department provided a room in Kenan Music building for this morning’s workshop as well as a few instruments for the group’s performance.

Alamo is a self-proclaimed fan of the group, as well a native Puerto Rican.

“They are very well-known in Puerto Rico and worldwide — they were even nominated for a Grammy,” he said.

Although not all members of the group are Puerto Rican, they all practice “la bomba” and “la plena” professionally, both of which are traditional music styles of the country.

Director and founder Juan Jose Gutierrez Rodriguez said “la bomba” is inspired by African slave chants, and “la plena” stemmed from “la bomba.”

“‘La plena’ is like a sponge that absorbs from different Puerto Rican traditions,” Rodriguez said.

Julia Loiza Gutierrez-Rivera, daughter of the founder, plays an important role in bringing dance to the stage, and said dance is also very involved with both styles of music.

“We hope that viewers gain an appreciation for the music and the expression,” she said.

“As musicians, we hope for them to have a connection. Once you have that, everything else flows.”

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