Hartford, Conn.—On July 21 (rain date July 22), the Connecticut Historical Society will present a free outdoor concert of Puerto Rican folk music as part of its Third Thursdays performance series. The concert will begin at 6 p.m. on the beautiful grounds of the CHS at One Elizabeth St. in Hartford. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and food from 5 p.m. For more information contact Lynne_Williamson@chs.org
Alfred Rivera and Amor y Cultura perform Puerto Rican música tipica, traditional folk music of the countryside and mountains, featuring bongos, guitar, guiro (gourd scraper), vocals, and cuatro – the signature instrument of this style.
The musicians of Amor y Cultura grew up surrounded by Puerto Rican’s traditional folk music. They will play songs from several important Puerto Rican musical forms, including Trova (rhythms such as Seis and Aguinaldo which accompany improvised sung poetry such as the décima); Danza (a more classical instrumental style), and Plena (an African-influenced form characterized by percussion and verses of commentary on current events). Amor y Cultura has been performing for over twenty years. The current line-up of musicians includes Pedro Alvarez (guitar), Robert Piñeiro (bongos), Edwin Velez (guiro/gourd scraper), Alfred Rivera (cuatro), and Antonio Rivera (trovador).
Band leader Alfred Rivera of New Britain began to play the guitar from age five, absorbing the music from his father, a well known trovador, and family and friends. Alfred played guitar with the Hartford group Canto Isleño under the direction of master musician Virgilio Cruz. Alfred also played cuatro to accompany the folk poets who competed in the Concurso de Trovadores that were organized by Cruz and others in Connecticut during the 1990s. CCHAP and Rivera produced a Concurso in 2003 on Park Street in Hartford that was attended by over 300 people, with a dozen poets from all over the East Coast competing to compose extemporaneous verse in the décima style, with musical accompaniment.
The CHS Third Thursday concert series celebrates 25 years of the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CCHAP). This statewide initiative documents diverse cultural traditions and shares the artistic creations and community cultural practices of folk artists living throughout Connecticut. CCHAP began at the Institute for Community Research in Hartford in 1991 and moved to the Connecticut Historical Society in 2015. The Program partners with many traditional artists and communities, contributes to other activities at the CHS, and develops new programming areas such as educational outreach with folk artists.
The concerts have received generous support from the Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America N.A., Trustee. Additional project funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD, and the Connecticut Historical Society.
The Connecticut Historical Society (www.CHS.org) is a private, not-for-profit educational organization that includes a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center. Founded in 1825, the CHS is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. The CHS works to connect visitors to the story of Connecticut, and to help create a society that values historical perspective and understanding as essential tools in shaping communities and making informed decisions. To accomplish that, the CHS has collected more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials related to Connecticut’s social, cultural, and family history – which are available to the public onsite at Elizabeth Street in Hartford, off-site at other locations, and online.