I was saddened to learn about the death of Puerto Rican music legend Yomo Toro. The 78 year old King of the Cuatro, born Víctor Guillermo Toro Vega Ramos Rodríguez Acosta, had been struggling with kidney disease and passed from this world on June 30, surrounded by those who loved him.
Fro those that don’t know, Toro, born in Guánica, in the town of Ensenada, Puerto Rico, used the cuatro, a small guitar, to spread the musical folklore of his island worldwide. Toro’s talents went beyond Rican music, though, crossing genres globally.
You can read the New York Times‘ obituary here. But I want to share that personally, Yomo Toro’s music is part of my childhood memories. His records (yes, records) were part of so many celebrations both here in New York City and in Puerto Rico. His loss is a large one but what he has left here, his legacy, is a powerful gift.
For those in the NYC area, click after the jump for funeral information.
Because our history is African, LatiNegr@, y AfroRican
BOBBY SANABRIA AND THE MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC
AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ ORCHESTRA PRESENT A TRIBUTE HONORING
Rafaél Hernández (1892–1965)
Bobby Sanabria and the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra will pay tribute to Puerto Rico’s greatest composer, Maestro Rafaél Hernández, whose works include such masterpieces as Preciosa and Lamento Borincano and who made history as a trumpeter with bandleader James Reese Europe’s 369th Regiment Harlem Hell Fighters band during World War I.
October 22 / 7:30 PM /
Borden Auditorium, Manhattan School of Music
One of my favorite Rican musical duos is set to drop their third album and based on the title alone, it promises to be as politically charged as ever. Calle 13′s new album, set for release on October 7th, is called Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo, or in English, Those Left Behind are Coming with me.
Plena, a Puerto Rican musical genre rooted in Africa and agriculture, is making a comeback. While to many Ricans, like myself, the genre has always been alive, often played at house parties, the musical ensamble Plena Libre wants to liberate plena, as their name implies, and spread its good news.
San Juan , Puerto Rico based Plena Libre is touring the U.S. celebrating 11 years on the Latin music scene and their 11th CD titled Evolución, released in October of last year. This Friday, April 7th, Plena Libre will be playing two sets in New York City’s SOB’s. Muevete un poco at either the 8 pm or 10 pm set at 204 Varick Street. Tickets are $15, a bargain to pay pa’gozar!