Although Plena Libre won’t release its next CD “Plena al Salsero – Live in Monterrey, Mexico” until June 17, fans of the group can get a preview of that album when they catch the ensemble perform as part of the Music at the Library concert series in San Juan Capistrano on June 14.
Founded by composer/bass player Gary Núñez, Plena Libre has released a dozen albums that have earned the troupe four Grammy nominations. Plena Libre’s most recent CD, the Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated “Evolución,” was released in 2006. “Plena al Salsero” will be the group’s 13th full-length album.
“This idea of a live recording was something that I had been encouraged to do for years,” Núñez said in a recently-posted update on Plena Libre's official Web site.
“But in the past year the personnel and the chemistry in the band had gelled so much that I knew that the timing was now ripe. The evolution of the musical sound, excitement and energy of Plena Libre’s live show over this past year was something I had never experienced with the group before.”
So in November 2007, with Plena Libre invited to perform five concerts in Monterrey, Mexico. After performing the first two shows, Núñez realized the setting and sound was perfect to complete a concert recording. He found a recording studio titled El Cielo Recording Studios (“Heaven” in English) and it happened the engineer was able to bring all of his equipment to Monterrey’s Parque Fundidora on short notice to perform the final nights.
The best tracks from those live sessions are featured on “Plena al Salsero.”
Fusing the sounds of Puerto Rico’s plena and bomba sonic traditions with African-styled rhythms, Plena Libre has been featured on celebrated stages such as New York’s Lincoln Center and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center.
But local audiences in Orange County can be thrilled that Plena Libre is celebrating the release of “Plena al Salsero” with two special shows in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday night.
Plena Libre will perform at San Juan Capistrano Regional Library, 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, at 6:30 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 14.
Tickets are either show are $10 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12.