Last Saturday my sister and brother-in-law invited me to see Tato Torres and YERBABUENA at the Nuyorican Poets Café. I hadn’t been to the Nuyorican Poets Café in years and felt it was the right time to revisit the legendary stronghold of the Nuyorican art movement in New York City. The Nuyorican Poets Café, a non-profit organization in Alphabet City, has become a forum for poetry, music, hip-hop, video, visual arts, comedy, and theatre.
I learned of YERBABUENA (which means “good herb”) a few months ago from reading blog posts but did not know much about the group. YERBABUENA plays Boricua (Puerto Rican) roots music and is composed of musicians, singers, and dancers from the New York City area who share an intense passion for the musical traditions of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
A new Boricua generation is embracing the group’s music that promotes the Puerto Rican musical traditions of bomba, plena and música jíbara. Seeing and feeling YERBABUENA for the first time at the Nuyorican Poets Café stirred a strong sense of cultural pride. It was like being around family you hadn’t seen in a long time. People danced in the aisle and I could not help but move to the music. I’m now a fan. If you get a chance, check out Tato Torres and YERBABUENA.