The Meriden Puerto Rican Festival features a mix of Latin music

MERIDEN — The Puerto Rican festival returns to Hubbard Park on August 7, with a variety of musical performances including salsa, merengue and jíbaro.

Héctor Cardona, president of the festival, said the goal was a mix of Latin music.

“We try to mix it up to appeal to everyone,” Cardona said.

Sharina y su Conjunto Guajiba, a band based in Massachusetts, will perform jíbaro music. Roberto Piñeiro is the director and founder of the group. Sharina De Leon is the lead singer and troubadour.

De Leon is a fourth generation performer in her family, known as Familia Sanabria. The family is popular in Puerto Rico for playing jíbaro music.

Piñeiro explained that jíbaro music, which originated in Spain, dates back to the 1600s. Puerto Ricans were inspired to make jíbaro music by the Spaniards who lived on the island, but added their own instruments and other touches. musical.

“We are trying to maintain and save this culture,” Piñeiro said. “I’m very proud of where I come from and to bring that culture to the United States is to bring nostalgia to the people of Puerto Rico who live here.”

This is the second time that Sharina y su Conjunto Guajiba has performed at the Puerto Rican Festival of Meriden.

Will Silva is a member of Salsa Dinamica, a new group based in Meriden who will be performing at the festival for the first time.

The event is an opportunity to start building a brand, Silva said. The 10-member group performs songs by other salsa artists, like Frankie Ruiz and Hector La Voz, but the goal is to compose original music in the future.

Los Soneros de Borinquen, also from Massachusetts, will play bachata and merengue. Carlos y su Momento Musical will play salsa.

Ana Garcia, from Meriden, will perform the Puerto Rican and American national anthems. Garcia, who was born in New York and has Puerto Rican roots, said national anthems represent tradition, history and beliefs. Garcia said that when the national anthem is performed, “we all look forward to hearing if the artist is going to hit the note that makes us feel [a] sense of glory, freedom, respect and national pride.

“I expect to hit that note on August 7 in honor of both countries,” she added.

Cardona said participants react differently during musical performances. While many enjoy dancing and waving Puerto Rican flags, others enjoy performances from the comfort of a lawn chair.

For the 50th anniversary of the Meriden Festival, 11 artists from Puerto Rico performed in front of approximately 9,000 people. This year is the 55th festival.

Odilio González, José Miguel Class, El Super Trío, Lily and Su Gran Trío are all prominent artists from Puerto Rico who have performed at the festival.

“It’s good to bring people together because a lot of people, especially Spaniards, love Spanish music,” Cardona said. “I feel good when I see happy people.”

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