New York (New York), USA – On October 4th 2005 Times Square will be releasing Plena Libre ‘s 11th CD, aptly titled Evolución [Evolution] (Times Square TSQ-CD- 9048, 2005). For the Puerto Rican band, Evolución marks a new level of creativity and confidence. The core of the band’s repertoire remains the danceable plena, the folkloric form that was born 100 years ago and served as a “musical newspaper” for itinerant farm workers.Along with the plena, with its signature trio of panderos (hand held frame drums playing
interlocking rhythms), on this CD the group also updates the bomba, a genre that derives from African traditions brought by slaves to Puerto Rico, boasting over thirty rhythmic patterns played on barriles (barrel like drums). Evolución also presents an expanded sound for the group, amplifying its trombone section with baritone sax and incorporating the flute, classical and electric guitars, vibraphone, Puerto Rican cuatro and accordion for additional color. The core repertoire is further expanded using a variety of rhythms and styles – the Brazilian samba, complicated 6/8ths, and African touches of the bata, the descarga (jam) style of the Latin jazz tune, and even a club remix bonus track. In short, the tracks on Evoluciónpreserve the essence of traditional plena and bomba styles but pulse with the new-found freedoms given them by Gary Núñez, the band’s leader and arranger, and the musicians.
Plena Libre’s current lineup features founder/composer Gary Núñez on bass, vocalists
Wichy Camacho, Pole Ortiz and Victor Velez, and Plena Libre veteran Kaly Villanueva.
The powerhouse rhythm section includes veteran William Gonzales (timbales), and new
members Gadwin Vargas (congas, batá, and percussion), Charlie Pizzaro (panderos) and
keyboard player Pedro Bermúdez. The group’s swinging horn section includes old-time
trombonists José Cruz and César Ayala, complemented by the new sound of Roberto
Calderon’s baritone sax.
Two Puerto Rican folklore legends are special guests on Evolución. Don Angel Luis Torruellas , now in his 70s, is “La Leyenda Viva” or living legend of traditional
plena and bomba. His muscular rendition of his classic composition “Yenyere” shows
he remains in fine form. Andres Jiménez, or “El Jíbaro,” is one of most celebrated
singers from the Puerto Rican countryside, and he demonstrates his mastery of the
improvisational decima style, here trading verses with Plena Libre’s Pole Ortiz on
“Canto a Puerto Rico.”
It has been more than a decade since Gary Nuñez baptized the group with the name
Plena Libre, aiming to break musical and cultural boundaries. Their new CD and 2005
U.S. tour dates are now more borders crossed for this extraordinary group.
Plena Libre Evolución 2005 Tour Dates:
• Friday, September 16, Dayton, OH – Victoria Theater
• Sunday, September 18, Chicago, IL – Chicago World Music Festival /
• Monday, September 19, Chicago, IL – Hothouse
• Thursday, September 22, Bloomington, IN – Lotus Festival
• Friday, September 23, West Lafayette, IN – Purdue Concert Memorial Union
• Saturday, September 24, Iowa City, IA – Hancher Auditorium
• Sunday, September 25, Okojobi, IA – Lakes Art Center
• Thursday October 6, College Station, TX – A&M University
• Friday October 7, Houston, TX – Bar Rio
• Thursday, October 13, San Luis Obispo, CA – Veteran’s Hall
• Friday, October 14, Yountville, CA – Lincoln Theater
• Saturday, Octover 15, Davis, CA – Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
• Tuesday & Wednesday, October 18 & 19 – Oakland, CA – Yoshi’s Nightclub
• Saturday, October 22, Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
• Saturday, October 23, Fort Lauderdale, FL – Viva Broward Festival
Further October Dates TBA.