I have worked as an NYC teaching artist for nearly 4 decades, wow! I first started in the 80’s, back when I was the youngest member of my band, Los Pleneros de la 21. Regardless of now being the oldest member of Los Pleneros, I continue to prize the importance of sharing the richness of Puerto Rican Plena and Bomba with the youth. Throughout my many years, I’ve considered and still consider myself to be a student of these traditions. Every opportunity I find to teach one, reach one, shows me so much more about the profoundness of Bomba and Plena.
I knew that the pandero, a Brazilian hand drum, would bring me invaluable treasures, experiences, and richness to from the first time I picked up the instrument. Since founding Los Pleneros in 1983, I have been a member of the National Council of Traditional Arts Advisory Council and have received a National Heritage Fellow Award. Despite these recognitions, the greatest gift this music has given to me remains the opportunity it has provided me to work with talented youth and growing minds, and watch them connect with and be passionate about culture – this is how I know we’ve done our job as musicians and as educators.