Continuing a journey we started with our ¡Saoco! compilations, the series Saoco Now! presents current recordings which celebrate the legacy of key figures of Puerto Rican music from the 50s and 60s. On this second 7", we are proud to feature the first recordings by La Máquina Insular, a plena band which carries on this tradition of street music, still very much alive in Puerto Rico. The band's director, plena maestro and requinto virtuoso Héctor "Tito" Matos, is one of the leading examples of a movement that has revitalized the plena genre in Puerto Rico during the last decade, taking it back to the street corners of the island's neighbourhoods.
Featuring the traditional instrumentation of tambourines, güiro, tumbandero and the back-up of a clarinet, La Máquina Insular play a repertoire of classic and new plenas with the strength and rhythm typical of the best of the genre. Written by Tito Matos, 'Somos la plena' is a manifesto about the vitality of street and communal plena which lists the genre's great figures and iconic neighbourhoods. Sung by Luis "Lagarto" Figueroa, 'Ven a bailar' is a composition by the patriarch of bomba and plena, Rafael Cepeda, author of Cortijo y su Combo's first hit, 'El bombón de Elena', among many others. A current favourite among the new generation of pleneros, the song achieves a vintage flavour in this rendition by La Máquina Insular, worthy of such a classic title.
La Máquina Insular is:
Héctor “Tito” Matos - director - pandereta seguidor, pandereta requinto on 'Ven a bailar’, güiro, timbita de plena, tumbandero, coros and lead vocals 'Somos la plena’ .
Luis “Lagarto” Figueroa - pandereta requinto on 'Somos la plena’, coros and lead vocals on 'Ven a bailar’.
Erik Noel Rosado - pandereta punteador & coros.
Joksan “Joko” Ramos - pandereta seguidor.
Guillermo “Willie” Cubero - pandereta seguidor.
Ricardo Pons - clarinet and coros.
Recorded at El Padrino Recording Studio by Julio González.
Recording Assistant - Miguel de Gracia.
Executive Production - Yannis Ruel.
Mixed at Rolo Recording Studio by Rolando Alejandro.
Photo by Antonio Zayas.