Turn it Up – The Music of Puerto Rico

Did you know that most of the Caribbean music heard in the continental United States hails from Puerto Rico? Much of the traditional music of the island comes from the Taíno people, and the most recognizable instrument that can be attributed to them is the guiro, which is a hollowed out, notched gourd. Puerto Rican music also features the musical influences of the Spanish and African people who came to the island, which includes instruments such as the requinto, the bordonua, the cuatro and the triple, all adapted from the classical six-string Spanish guitar. Additional traditional instruments include tambours, maracas and drums. All of these different influences make Puerto Rico a musical melting pot.

The Welcome to Puerto Rico website offers some insights into popular Puerto Rican music, sharing the rich history behind today’s most popular musical styles. For instance, they offer that much of the music of Puerto Rico not only involves instrumentals, it also involves movement. Bomba y Plena, for instance, are two types of music that, although usually grouped together, are very different. Both, however, are part of a music and dance combination. Bomba, which originated from African slaves who were brought to the island, includes drums, sticks and maracas. As for the dance part, the dancers respond to the drummers, changing their dance rhythms and tempos in response to the beat of the drums.

Plena, on the other hand, was created from a blending of various cultures, including ritual music of the native Taíno people. Plena first appeared in the city of Ponce about a century ago, and uses instruments that include the guiro, the cuatro and the tambourine. Dancing the plena was as much acting, and many times the dance portion was either satirical or based on current events.

Salsa, of course, is the most recognizable type of music, and was originally developed within New York City’s Puerto Rican community. Combining Puerto Rican, Cuban and African-Caribbean influences, the salsa provides danceable, sophisticated rhythms. Salsa bands typically use a wide variety of percussion instruments, such as the guiro, maracas and bongos, as well as bass, brass, and vocals.

If you’d love to take in some live Puerto Rican music while you’re staying with us at Maria’s, there are a number of places you can enjoy. For instance, The Beach House offers salsa music on Friday nights, and live bands on Saturdays. The Rincón Beer Company, Tamboo, and Calypso Cafe are also great hangouts that frequently offer live music.

When you’re ready to groove to some island music, Maria’s is ready to help! Our booking is done through Twin Palms, Maria’s rental and onsite management. Please visit our booking page on this website to view the availability of Maria’s and fill out our convenient contact form. If you have any additional questions regarding Maria’s, you may call Twin Palms at 787-685-6648 (español: 787-233-9815). Thank you for planning your Puerto Rican vacation with Maria’s!