If you have never experienced live plena, I recommend you check out the Puerto Rican roots fusion band Plena Libre at Shakori Hills this weekend, with two performances Friday (10/8) and Saturday (10/9).
Latin dancers, this won't be your usual salsa gig, but you WILL get your dance on moving to plena, an energetic rhythm indigenous to Puerto Rico, which you will recognize as a spice note in Nuyorican salsa. Check out my review of their performances two years ago* at the same venue.
Getting sweaty with Plena Libre: lead drummer Rafi Falu @ Shakori Hills in 2008
It's rare enough to get a touring band from Puerto Rico in our area, and to hear the music of plena is real opportunity. (For more background on plena, see my feature in the Independent on Miguel Zenon.) Plena Libre is one of the island's top bands popularizing this street "folk" music in modern, innovative form, with the horns and percussion sound of a big salsa band.
Also returning this year: Latin/ska/reggae band Locos Por Juana, from Miami.
The festival, on a giant farm in Pittsboro, is a place to really get away from it all and let your hair down, a four-day feast of music in all genres across multiple stages, with diverse and high quality food and arts vendors. See the Shakori Hills website for a full schedule, directions, and ticket info.
Shakori Hills Grassroots Music and Dance Festival
Plena Libre appearance Sunday (10/10) at Charlotte's Latin American Festival
*correction: originally stated incorrectly as "one year ago." Time flies!