Plena is one of Puerto Rico’s native music rhythms. It is the music of southern, coastal Puerto Rico, especially around the city of Ponce. First appearing around the end of the 19th century, plena lyrics concentrate on providing information about contemporary events so it’s nickname became “el periodico cantao” (the sung newspaper). Originally plena was a sung accompanied by Spanish tambourines called panderos; later frame drums and guiro were added, and more contemporary plena saw the addition of horns. Plena songs are characterized by the repetition of phrases.
We have compiled several plena songs that describe situations and stories that are engrained in our cultural tradition. They include:
Cuando las Mujeres Quieren a los Hombres
Fuego, Fuego, Fuego
Ay Lola Lola
Que bonita es!
Los muchachos de Cataño
Tintotera de la mar
Christmas Plena Songs
Plena Una Noche se Oyó en Borinquén
Plena and Censorship in the early 1900s
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