A dance and percussion workshop related to the exhibition We Are Here to Serve You at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design.
Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21), the premier East Harlem-based performing ensemble and non-profit community organization, was founded in 1983 by Juan J. ‘Juango’ Gutiérrez (National Endowment for the Arts’ Heritage Fellow, 1996) and the legendary Master Plenero, Marcial Reyes Arvelo. The ensemble was originated under the common goal to promote the importance and beauty of traditional Puerto Rican music and dance to the masses. The ensemble has pioneered the road for bomba and plena performance around NYC, and continues to spread it globally.
LP21’s landmark community-based cultural and educational programs, such as Bomba and Plena Community Workshops for adults and kids; Bomba and Plena In the House for NYC school children; and Cultural Legacy Programs, have created a common space for the recognition, education and practice of Puerto Rican culture and identity. Their programs have educated thousands of individuals, young and old, and inspired dozens of performing groups and aspiring musicians to become leaders in their own right, as they carry bomba and plena into the future for generations to come.
After more than 35 years of performances and a Grammy nomination for their groundbreaking album, Para Todos Ustedes, LP21 remains the dynamic family and intergenerational group of musicians and cultural leaders from East Harlem, the South Bronx and many of NYC’s own local communities. LP21’s latest album, Los Pleneros de la 21 Live at Pregones: 35 years of Bomba & Plena (Truth Revolution Records, Nov 2018), is an ode to the group’s long arduous, yet satisfying journey – milestone indeed, of a lifetime of work, blood, sweat, tears and laughter of countless dedicated bomberos, pleneros, educators and cultural advocates, raising their spear in the name of Puerto Rican bomba and plena, and the makers of this tradition. The album marks a new era for LP21, with a younger generation of musicians taking leadership in re-envisioning LP21’s style and persona.