A space for study, encounter, historical interpretation and performance of plena styles.

The PLENATORIUM

at

The Loisaida Center

Plena-torium: literally a place for plena; a plena universe (a project initiative of the Loisaida Center focused on the nurture and documentation of the practice of Puerto Rican plena) a genre of popular traditional music, chant and dance native to the island of Puerto Rico, but with similar mutually related expressions throughout the Caribbean.

The plena is rhythm-driven, percussion-focused and performed with tambourine-like frame drums called panderetas or panderos, which traditionally accompany call-and-response singing and couples dancing. These handheld drums have stretched animal skin (usually goat skin), covering one side of a round wooden frame. The panderetas or panderos were traditionally accompanied by a scrape gourd called a güiroaccordion and guitar; although any instrument at hand can and has been incorporated into impromptu ensembles. The plena is one of the musical traditions most present throughout the Puerto Rican Diaspora and thus a significant cultural link between dispersed communities.

Plenatorium also refers to the use of the space and facilities at the Loisaida Center for plena-centric activity.

The PLENATORIUM therefore stems from and describes the basic idea of dedicating available time and space at the Loisaida Center to the hosting, presentation and documentation of such activities as plena forums, workshops, performances, and any other forms of sociocultural participation.


To register for the Plenatorium Ensemble Workshops please click here. 2016 Workshop Registration is currently CLOSED.


By taking these workshops you are contributing to the survival and proliferation of one of Puerto Rico’s most endangered musical genres, and learning the unique styles of the Plena Mayagüezana, Güiro styles of playing and folk plena dance!

To prepare for the workshops, check out our online video resource below.