In Puerto Rico, music can always be heard and is often at the center of an event. Drawing on the different musical influences that made it to the island, Puerto Rico developed several types of music that use native instruments along with traditional western instruments to create a unique sound.

Folk Music

Based on the native influences and the traditions from Spanish romantic ballads, the folk music of Puerto Rico was born. The most popular songs in this genre come from jibaros, rural islanders who live in the mountains. The use of string istruments like the cuatro, and several types of percussion set the backdrop for these lyrical performances.

jibaro - from - author: barrio_media

From by barrio_media


Often associated with the Plena genre, Bomba is an entirely different type of music. Bomba, which is purely African, was played by the slaves who worked the sugar plantations in the 17th century. Referred to as "a dialogue between dancer and drummer," the drummer challenges the dancer and vice-versa. Along with drums, maracas and the banging of sticks make up the rhythm. The purest form of Bomba is said to be found in Loiza, a town famous for its Bomba.

Los Pleneros de la 21 playing Bomba music - from - author: Running With Scissors

from by Running With Scissors


Appearing in the city of Ponce approximately 100 years ago, Plena is the blending of Puerto Rico's many musical influences, including Taino ceremonial music. Plenas were used to spread the news orally or to satirize local politicians. The instruments found in Plena are: the guiro, the cuatro, and panderos.

A group playing Plena music in Old San Juan - from - author: DeLares

from by DeLares


While it is the music that most people associate Puerto Rico with , ironically, Salsa wasn't born on the island. It came out of the Puerto Rican community of New York. There are two different thoughts as to how Salsa originated. Some say it was born out of the Big Bands in New York, while others say that it is a combination of rumba, mambo, cha-cha, guanguanco, and merengue. Many different instruments are used in salsa including: the guiro, maracas, bongos, timbales, conga drums, claves, a cowbell, a bass, a horn section, and singers, including backup and a lead.

salsa band - from - author: