Flamboyan is working closely with twelve arts organizations on the island to preserve, amplify, and sustain the arts in Puerto Rico with an additional round of grantees to be announced this summer. This series will spotlight all twelve Arts Fund grantee organizations.
Trovadores belong to a small group who guard the heritage of Puerto Rico, a heritage that comes from the folkloric expression of their ancestors, who used music and dance centuries ago to communicate their daily life, struggles and stories. Trovadores cherish the island folklore and are very proud of it. They see it as the inheritance of the island’s young people, heirs of a wealth that is not divided into parts. On the contrary, this rich tradition grows in the expression of those who really live it.
Taller Folklórico Central, located in the mountains of Puerto Rico, has been fighting the oblivion of Puerto Rico’s folklore tradition since 2008 by sharing their knowledge of trova with others-especially kids-to nourish their souls and encourage them to develop a love for traditional music and carry on the traditions of Puerto Rican music.
We asked Taller Folklórico Central to answer five questions about their work and the future of their organization. Read on to learn more about them.
What is the history of your organization or group? What motivated you to create it?
In February of 2008, Taller Folklórico Central, Inc. was founded as a non-profit organization. We provide music workshops that teach the “cuatro,” the guitar, singing, and anything related to cultural folklore. Our purpose is to preserve the local music that represents who the Puerto Rican people are. We focus on teaching younger generations about this music. Apart from acquiring musical skills, these workshops provide participants with values that nurtures their character.
What are your main achievements?
Our main achievements are the achievements of our students, and of the people we work with every day. For example, two of our members, Rafael Román and Alondra Sofía Díaz, have recorded their own productions. One of our cuatro students received a scholarship from the University of Puerto Rico because of his talent playing the instrument, and three others were selected to participate in musical workshops outside our entity. Also, we were internationally represented by our students in a Colombian Folk Music Festival called “Congreso Jóvenes Improvisadores de la Décima Espinel“.
What was the reality of your organization before receiving the Flamboyan Arts Fund grant?
Before receiving these funds, we only offered workshops for instruments and singing, but now, we have been able to include both art and dance in our workshops; which was something we had aspired to achieve. The help from Flamboyan has helped us continue to preserve and spread traditional Puerto Rican music. In the future, we have the goal of being able to offer workshops in the discipline of theater as well.
How are you using the funds you received?
The funds are being used to produce music, art, and dance workshops; the latter being a workshop we hoped to provide for some time, but did not have the resources to do so. We will continue to work with kids in municipalities such as Morovis, Barranquitas, Corozal, Coamo, Villalba, among others.
What do you think about this collaboration between Flamboyan Foundation, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family and the producers of Hamilton to create this Fund to support arts and culture in Puerto Rico?
It has been a great honor that the Flamboyan Arts Fund has decided to support our work to preserve traditional Puerto Rican music and to pave the way for the younger generations to become the leaders of this part of our culture. It is a blessing. We wish that more Puerto Ricans would feel a commitment and responsibility to their culture like Lin-Manuel Miranda does. It is vital to elevate our culture so that the younger generations can become the innovators at both a local and international level. We want to thank the Hamilton production, the Flamboyan Foundation, and the Miranda family for this initiative that apart from helping the arts, allows for the sensitivity of the human being and the conservation of our culture.
Look out next week for another opportunity to meet a Flamboyan Arts Fund inaugural grantee! Learn more about the Arts Fund @ http://www.flamboyanartsfund.org.
Rosiris Ramos Meléndez is the Communications Manager in our Puerto Rico office. Learn more about her at http://flamboyanfoundation.org/team_members/rosiris-a-ramos-melendez/.