The 8th Biennial BomPlenzo 2014

(r) evolucionado

 A Celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican Culture
tober 10 – 12

From October 10 to 12, 2014, the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture will present the 8th biennial celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance, BomPlenazo 2014 “(r) evolucionado,” which this year focuses on how the art forms have maintained their vibrancy and relevance into the 21st century. 
Over the course of the three days, some of New York’s leading ensembles and practitioners of the bomba and plena traditions will perform concerts for all ages, participate in panel discussions, and present workshops in a variety of venues in the South Bronx, including the Hostos Center, Pregones Theater, the Bronx Music Heritage Center, and the Rincón Criollo Cultural Center, popularly-known as “La Casita de Chema,” one of the shrines of bomba and plena in New York City for almost four decades. 
A highlight of the festival will be the Saturday night performance of the BomPlenazo Artists Collective at the Hostos Center, in which 20 of the leading bomba and plena artists in New York will come together for the first time, under the direction of National Heritage Fellow Juan Gutiérrez.


School Concerts
Bomplenazo 2014 kicks off on Friday, October 10, with two school concerts for young audiences in the Bronx Music Heritage Center at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  As part of its “Bomba & Plena: In the House” series, Los Pleneros de la 21, in collaboration with the Bronx Music Heritage Center and the Hostos Center, will present “Pleneros y Bomberos de Nueva York” a performance of New York home-grown Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance featuring BomPlenazo artists. For reservation and information, call (212) 427-5221.

Panel Discussion
At 6:30 p.m. that evening, Pregones Theater will host a panel discussion entitled, Retracing Our Steps and Marking New Paths: Bomba and Plena in the Diaspora.” Julia Gutiérrez Rivera, Jorge Vázquez and Bienvenido ‘Benny’ Ayala will discuss the evolution of the art forms, moderated by Marinieves Alba.  Following the panel discussion, there will be a festive gathering in Pregones’ lobby, and then Francisco Vélez and his parranderos will lead a procession to the biennial’s opening reception in the Longwood Art Gallery at the Hostos CenterAdmission is free, but reservations are recommended; please call (718) 585-1202.

Main Stage Performances at Hostos Center
At 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 11th the BomPlenazo Showcase in the Main Theater of the Hostos Center will highlight a range of folkloric dance styles to traditional bomba and plena, as practiced in New York by these five leading ensembles: the thirty-member folkloric Danza Fiesta, led by Gilda Rivera-Pantojas; Plena Sin Fronteras, one of New York’s most popular traditional plena groups, Siembra Maestra, led by the multi-percussionist / vocalist Obanilú Iré Allende performing a mix of a bomba and plena styles; Legacy Women, the female  musical group rooted in Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican traditions;  and Ilu Aye, “the Drum of the World, representing the next generation of Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Dominican, and Afro-Cuban percussionists and singers.  General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children under 18.
For the first time in the history of the festival, Juan Gutiérrez, Artistic Director of Los Pleneros de la 21, has put together an all-star ensemble featuring artists from leading New York groups that will perform on Saturday evening, October 11, 7:30 PM in the Main Theater. 
The BomPlenazo Artist Collective is a collaborative effort involving more than 20 artists, some that are known as traditional bomba and plena practitioners with others more closely identified with Latin jazz. The artists include: Alexander LaSalle, Papo Vázquez, Benny Ayala, Camilo Molina, Tato Torres, Desmar Guevera, Donald Nicks, Tito Matos, Iván Renta, Jorge Vázquez, Juan Manuel Usera, Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera, Miriam Félix, Nelson Cabassa, Nelson Matthew González, Norka Hernández-Nadal, Obanilú Iré Allende, Tivo Ayala, and Ricardo Pons.  The Collective will perform both original and standard works of the Bomba and Plena traditions.  Reserved seating is $15 for adults and $7.50 for students and children under 18.
Free Workshops
Free 90-minute workshops will be offered on Saturday, October 11, at 10:00 AM at Hostos Center for amateur and aspiring artists.  Tito Matos, co-founder of the popular group Viento de Agua, will lead a workshop in plena percussion.  Participants need to bring their own panderetas. Bomba dance for men, intermediate level and up will be taught by Nelson Matthew González, of Danza Fiesta and Los Pleneros de la 21.  Although the workshops are free, registration is required.  Please call (718) 518-4455. 
Vente Tú at “La Casita de Chema”
As is the tradition, BomPlenazo will close with the Vente Tú (“You Come”) on Sunday, October 12, beginning at noon, with informal performances and jamming from festival artists and others at “La Casita de Chema” located at 749-753 Brook Avenue in the Bronx.  Admission is free, and food and drink is available for purchase.

BomPlenazo 2014 is made possible by support from the Eugenio María de Hostos Community College Foundation, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Office of New York City Councilwoman María del Carmen Arroyo, the Office of New York Assemblyman José Rivera, and the Office of New York State Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo.
For ticket and general information, call the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture at (718) 518-6539 or log onto Hostos Center box office at 450 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, is open Mon. – Fri. 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and two hours prior to ticketed performances.  The Hostos Center is easily accessible by public transportation including the 2, 4, 5 subway lines and the BX1, BX2, BX19 bus lines to 149th Street and Grand Concourse.
For a complete listing of events and venues, log on
to or call (718) 518-4455