Bronx Music Heritage Center’s Living Legends Concert
The Bronx Music Heritage Center
will host a special Living Legends
Concert at Playground 52, located
at 681 Kelly Street, to honor Benny
Ayala for his career as a pioneering
“plenero” in the Bronx and for cultivating
the next generation of plena
and bomba musicians.
The event, which will take place
on Saturday, May 18 at 4 p.m., will
feature guest speakers Desseree
Soto, director of Casita Rincón Criollo.
plenero Aurelio Rivera, and Fernando
“Ponce” LaSpina of El Maestro,
Inc. Juan Laporte Boxing Gym.
There will be performances by local
plena groups Artesanos de la Plena
and Kinto Zonó.
Plena, a folkloric music and dance
genre that originated in Puerto Rico
in the early 1900’s– is characterized
by its infectious beat and rhythm,
generally played using hand drums
called panderetas, also known as
panderos. Bienvenido “Benny” Ayala
has been one of the premier plena exponents
in the Bronx over the past
He is also one of the founding
members of Casita Rincón Criollo,
the most famous of the casitas
(or “small houses”) in the Bronx,
which are reminiscent of the small,
brightly-colored cottages of rural
The Bronx Living Legend Concert
in honor of Benny Ayala is free and
open to the public.
It has been made possible thanks
to collaboration with 52 People for
Progress and the NYC Department of
Parks & Recreation.
BMHC programming is supported,
in part, by the National Endowment
for the Arts, the New York
State Council on the Arts with the
support of Governor Andrew Cuomo
and the New York State Legislature,
public funds from the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs in
partnership with the City Council,
the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the
Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund,
and the Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation
Fund, which is generously
supported by The Rockefeller Foundation
and administered by Lincoln
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BRONX TIMES R 72 EPORTER, MAY 10-16, 2019 BTR
Benny Ayala will be performing on Saturday, May 18, at Playground 52.
Photo courtesy of the Bronx Music Heritage Center