Rondalla Puerto Rico

Rondalla Puerto Rico was formed in 1986 as an initiative of the Puerto Rican Cultural Society of Dayton. The intent was to help to preserve the island’s traditional culture in the local community. As a testament to its success, the group has endured for 25 years. The repertoire consists mainly of Puerto Rican traditional styles: seis, aguinaldo, danza, bomba and plena. It also includes some other popular Caribbean styles: guaracha, merengue and bolero. The lineup fluctuates between 15-18 members who balance family and professional life to be in the group. The ensemble includes male and female singers, dancers and instrumentalists on “cuatro” (a melodic ten-string lute considered the national instrument of Puerto Rico), guitar, bass, “güiro” (a scrape gourd), “panderos” (tambourine), congas and bongos. Rondalla gathers irregularly to play festively on weekends, replacing the need to meet for regular rehearsals.

Edwin Corporán, the group director, is a percussionist and a member of Rondalla since 1992. He is originally from Coamo, PR where playing traditional music is a community birthright. Corporán did not learn music in school; he learned it from his neighbors in “parrandas” (festive Puerto Rican Christmas caroling). In Dayton, he continues the same community spirit of music-making as a form of cultural preservation. Corporán works at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Before arriving in Ohio, he never belonged to a steady musical group, but once there, he felt a calling to maintain his culture. He has played with several local salsa bands in addition to his involvement with Rondalla Puerto Rico.

Rondallas are popular ensembles throughout Latin America and Spain. They are traditionally formed by free-spirited singers and instrumentalists who roam the streets, serenading in a festive mode. Rondalla Puerto Rico plays mostly local events, including the annual Hispanic Heritage Festival and the Dayton International Festival. In late 2009, several musicians from Rondalla accompanied world-renowned “cuatro” master Edwin Colón Zayas in concerts at the annual Folk Festival in Kent State University and in Wright State University. Rondalla has also performed in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo and Loraine. In the year 2000, they recorded a promotional CD called “Con Orgullo”.

Ohio Folk & Traditional Arts - Find Artists by County
Ohio Folk & Traditional Arts - Ohio Arts Council Ohio Folk & Traditional Arts - National Endowment for the Arts Ohio Folk & Traditional Arts - ThinkTV