When Juan Gutiérrez arrived in Harlem from Puerto Rico in the early 1970s, he had hopes of becoming a professional concert musician. But soon enough he started longing for a community that embraced and celebrated his roots.
He stumbled upon many Afro-Puerto Rican musicians of the genres, bomba and plena; and he was moved to create Los Pleneros de la 21. And Los Pleneros have been going strong for about three decades. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Sonja Haynes Stone Center is hosting the collective for workshops and performances this weekend. Juan Gutiérrez, Camilo Molina, and Nelson Matthew Gonzales are all members of Los Pleneros, and join host Frank Stasio on the program to discuss the past and present of the collective.