Plena Es Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum. Photo of Plena Es performing at HistoryMiami Museum.

Plena Es, founded by Pierre Ramos in 2004, is a high-energy Latin dance band from South Florida. The group specializes in the Puerto Rican percussion-based styles of bomba and plena. Other band members include David Lucca (co-bandleader, musical director and conga player), Somar Poveda (trombone), Daniel Lopez (trombone), Gamalier Reyes (tumbador), Raul Galimore (piano) and Mike Rivera (bass). Plena Es has also played with other important musicians, such as Willie Colón and Tito Puente.

Bomba and plena have important origins in Puerto Rico. Bomba comes from enslaved Africans in Puerto Rico who used the drums to communicate with each other safely and privately through specific rhythmic patterns. These patterns became the basis of bomba music.

Plena music also functioned as a mode of communication. Ramos states that when news outlets and radio stations were controlled by the American government, musicians would take up small hand drums and travel around the city singing lyrics about current events, politicians, religion, gossip and other everyday topics to spread news freely from person to person. This style was sometimes called the people’s newspaper for its direct transference of news without government involvement.

Plena Es served as the Artists-in-Residence for HistoryMiami Museum from January through March of 2015 and as Artists-in-Residence for the Florida Folklife Program in partnership with Florida State University’s Center for Music of the Americas in 2017. Members have also performed with the Miami Marlins Pachanga Band.

Point of Interest