With very little notice and a poor promotion, this week in Puerto Rico the ”Decimanía” organization is celebrating the week of “La Trova”. In different municipalities trough out the nation are taking and continue to take place a series of activities till next Sunday. The activity is dedicated to Luis Miranda that is one of the primary and more prominent institutions of puertorican folklore. The principal motive of this gesture is to demonstrate how letters combined with our culture or art can transmit our tradition through all the coming generations.
The “trova” is a tradition that not only us here in Puerto Rico practice. Is a latino shared heritage by countries like: Panamá, Uruguay, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Canary Islands and Spain and others. In the words of various artists that promote and practice this artistic tradition is a very special gesture; very personal in terms that you are basically mixing your ancestry with words and music.
Tato Torres that is one of the active puertorican musicians promoting our afro-boricua tradition; previously a member of the musical group “Yerbabuena” and currently of “El Chivo Loco”. He was born in the small town of Guayanilla but raised in the Bronx, N.Y. For a couple of years he has been very active in the “boricua roots” music scene and sharing with different young artist renounced in the traditional music production. He shared a couple of words with me about his opinion and position towards the puertorican folklore and how involves us the youth.
How do you consider in this very moment the influence of folklore music here in the island?“I believe that there is a very significant influence of “folklore” in the general Boricua cultural experience and expression. They are not always the images, sounds or concepts usually depicted or perceived by most “folklorists” and/or researchers, and especially not by the media. But never-the-less they are present and palpable if one knows where or how to look
What do you think of the position of the youth in this case? Specifically speaking of college students. In what ways do you encourage them? “The youth is always in a position of great social potential. By virtue of their very youth itself, they are the natural cultural agents of and links to our future. We can only hope to maintain the youth functionally and productively integrated within the general society by making them active participants of the cultural process. By facilitating trans-generational social activity, which, inevitably generates and re-generates culture, which in turn re-binds the society together. I have dedicated myself to working almost exclusively with young musicians in my musical career so far. Both of the musical projects I have founded and currently direct are predominantly composed of young people as the core members. I find that collaborating with the youth, is the best way to produce music, which is not only well-rooted in tradition, but also contemporarily relevant to both old and new generations.
You Tato Torres, How do you define our music, our musical heritage? What impact has or could have, if more promoted? I play Boricua Roots Music, which to me means that I make use of a traditional musical “palette” to interpret a present-day Puerto Rican musical expression. Boricua Roots Music is a musical movement in which Boricua musicians have combined and re-combined elements of traditional and/or folkloric music as contemporary musical expressions. This style of modern music, which reaches back to the roots of Boricua (Puerto Rican) tradition has come to be called “roots music” or “música de raíz” in Spanish.
In reference to the occasion, that this weak is precisely the “La Semana del Trovador”. What do you think of the effort?” Anytime that a society makes any effort to actively value and recognize those cultural agents and roles, which allow us a historical and cultural continuum, is indeed something to celebrate. Valuable functions such as those carried out and perpetuated by artists and entertainers like Trovadores definitely deserve to be honored and respected. By doing this we can only strengthen and stimulate it’s survival and that of our cultural future as a People.”