BomPlenazo 2012, A VII Biennial Celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican Culture

Friday, September, 14, 2012 – The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture will present BomPlenazo 2012, its seventh biennial celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican culture, on October 4-7. BomPlenazo will consist of four days of concerts, exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions and a culminating “vente-tú” (block party, pig roast and jam) at the fabled “Casita de Chema” in the South Bronx. The festival is considered to be one of the premier celebrations of its kind either on the island or the U.S. mainland, attracting audiences and artists from as far as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Puerto Rico.

Focus on Traditions of the Diaspora

After a decade of celebrating the bomba and plena traditions of different communities in Puerto Rico – from Santurce, to Ponce, to Loiza and to Mayagüez – this year BomPlenazo will focus on these traditions as they are practiced in communities throughout the United States, from California to New York.

Important Anniversaries

BomPlenazo 2012 will also take the opportunity to celebrate important anniversaries of three institutions which have been instrumental in the renaissance of Afro-Puerto Rican culture in the United States. The first is Eugenio María de Hostos Community College which, in 2012-13, will observe the 45th anniversary of its founding by The City University of New York’s board of trustees. The second is Centro Cultural Rincón Criollo, affectionately known as La Casita de Chema, which for four decades has served as the most important incubator of bomba and plena practitioners on the East coast. The third is Los Pleneros de la 21, New York’s beloved bomba and plena ensemble, which was founded thirty years ago by National Heritage Fellow Juan Gutiérrez and the legendary Marcial Reyes.

Festival Will be Dedicated to Masters José “Chema” Soto and Juan Gutiérrez

The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture accordingly dedicates BomPlenazo 2012 to José “Chema” Soto, including the countless musicians of renown who have been associated with La Casita, and to Juan “Juango” Gutiérrez and all the great musicians and dancers who have joined forces with him over the years. Significantly, all three institutions – Hostos, La Casita and Los Pleneros de la 21 – emerged in the South Bronx at a time of struggle during which its existence as a viable urban community was in danger. They not only endured to celebrate these anniversaries; they made invaluable contributions to this historically important community which today is experiencing a remarkable renaissance.

“La Escuelita del BomPlenazo”: Classes & Workshops

Because the focus of BomPlenazo is living folk traditions practiced by a community of people in addition to professional artists, the 2012 edition of BomPlenazo will include “La Escuelita del Bomplenazo”, a series of workshops, classes and panels in which audience members can learn the basics of the art forms and try their hands at the creative process themselves. (Offerings listed in attached program.)

BomPlenazo 2012 is being sponsored by the Hostos Community College Foundation and supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bronx Council on the Arts.

About the Hostos Center for Arts & Culture

In 1982 The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (The Center) opened its doors with a clear vision of serving the cultural needs of residents of the South Bronx and similar inner-city communities; and has successfully created forums in which the cultural heritages of its audiences – especially Latinos and African-Americans – have been affirmed and nurtured.  The Hostos Center for Arts & Culture has distinguished itself for showcasing the cultural traditions of the communities that the Center serves, by presenting premiere festivals and concert series. The 900 seat state-of-the-art concert hall has presented internationally renown Grammy winners and iconic musicians like, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie, Ruben Blades, Orquesta Aragón, Marc Anthony, Danny Rivera, Lucecita Benítez, Michel Camilo, Susana Baca, Los Van Van, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Spanish Harlem Orquestra, Larry Harlow, Bobby Sanabria, Papo Vázquez, Nelson González, Los Pleneros de la 21, Henry Coles and many more.

Hostos Center for Arts & Culture also produces and presents dance, painting, sculpture, drama and literary arts, from folk traditions to the avant-garde. A typical season consists of, a performing arts presenting series; a visual arts exhibiting series; periodic festivals featuring different cultural traditions; the Hostos Repertory Company; a children’s performing arts series; and an individual artists’ program consisting of commissions and residencies. Many outstanding visual artists have exhibited at the Center including Myrna Báez, Antonio Martorell, Pepón Osorio and Faith Ringgold. Legendary Nuyorican Poets and dramaturgues like Clemente Soto Vélez, Gracianny Miranda Archilla and Dolores Prida have held residencies. A continues effort to support, nurture and present emerging artists of all kinds have cultivated audiences for New York based notable groups such as: Yerbabuena, Pepatián, Teatro Pregones, Merian Soto, Noemí Segarra and many more.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2012 enrollment of over 7,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit


Wallace Edgecombe 718-518-6700

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