In Puerto Rico, A New Generation of Women’s Plena Groups Are Raising Their Voices

“Que cosa brava, que cosa bella, estar rodeada de mujeres pleneras,” sing the women of Plena Combativa, one of the few all-woman groups performing the Puerto Rican folk musical tradition on the island, outside a tiny wooden house in the rural northeastern town of Ceiba.

They’re playing the pandereta plenera and güiro under the searing Caribbean sun while standing on the porch of the late Isabel Rosado, a leader of Puerto Rico’s independence movement. A small crowd has gathered to remember the life of a woman who was imprisoned for her commitment to the liberation of their shared tierra.

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