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The initial version of the following essay "The Power of Plena" by renowned ethnomusicologist Roberta Singer appeared in "To the Four Corners: A Festschrift in Honor of Rose Brandel," edited by Ellen C. Leichtman,

Detroit Monographs in Musicology/Studies in Music, No. 14, Harmonie Park



The author wishes to thank Zulma Ortiz-Fuentes and Kim Sanabria for translation help and Joseph Sciorra for his insightful comments and for sharing his unpublished field notes on New York plena. The material for this article was gathered over two decades of work with pleneros and community culture specialists. I take this opportunity to thank some of them whose conversations with me have shed so much more light on the subject than any body of literature has done. My gratitude and affection to René López, Marcial Reyes, Ramón López, Manuel Ortiz, Louis Bauzó,Juan Gutiérrez, Doa Eva Hernandez, and Don Rafael Cepeda. And a special thank-you to Rose Brandel for starting me on the road to ethnomusicology.

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