Plena Libre

Plena Libre in performance

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2:00 PM talk with Jessica Baker

With an aggressive, tight, yet sensitive style that balances the traditional with the contemporary, global and local, Plena Libre creates a brand of music and live performance that is both profoundly Puerto Rican and universally appealing. Filtering the sounds of various Afro-Caribbean forms like merengue, cumbia, mambo and salsa through a unique set of artistic sensibilities, this versatile collection of expert performers creates a celebratory spectacle and engaging sonic ecstasy. Thrilling audiences around the world, from the Fez Festival (in Morocco) to the Playboy Jazz Festival, Plena Libre is a train that just keeps picking up steam as it charges ahead in unexpected and exciting directions.

Plena Libre caps its tenure as the 2019/20 Don Michael Randel Ensemble in Residence with a mainstage performance in UChicago’s Mandel Hall. With its unique, modern blend of a hard-hitting horn section, master hand drummers, and lush three-part vocal harmonies, Plena Libre infuses contemporary Caribbean compositions with a deep sense of indigenous musical traditions, reviving a century-old style for a new generation.

Hear Plena Libre in its final UChicago performance on Sunday, May 3 at 3 pm. Before the concert, the band joins Assistant Professor and ethnomusicologist Jessica Baker from the stage