Tag Archive | "El Gran Combo"

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Dance to the rhythms of El Gran Combo at the Festival Claridad

Posted on 24 July 2009 by GSV


For event itinerary, click here.

The 35th edition of the Festival Claridad kicks off this Thursday, February 26, 2009 at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium parking lot in San Juan.  A 4-day celebration of Puerto Rican national identity, the festival is organized every year by local pro-independence newspaper, Claridad, and is to many the first major cultural event on the island after its prolonged (and renowned) holiday season.  This year’s festivities are dedicated to the world’s preeminent salsa group, one of the island’s most beloved musical acts, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.  The party starts Thursday night with the honored guests taking the main stage to deliver the beloved sounds of their signature salsa gorda.

Needless to say, lots of dancing is expected – so brush up on those dance steps and salsa moves!  (Here are the basic steps to get you started, and some dazzling ones to get you pumped up and in the mood.)  Don’t let those latin rhythms intimidate you – the idea is to have fun, enjoy yourself, and learn some new steps from the more experienced crowd.

The weekend’s musical acts include local favorites like folk singer-songwriter Roy Brown, rock group Fiel a la Vega, salsa legend Andy Montañez, and traditional bomba y plena groups like Plena Libre – all sure to attract big crowds.  A second stage features book readings, theatre troupes, and comedy shows.  Saturday’s  Copa Claridad singing contest pits fellow trovadores or troubadours against one another, in a display of each’s unique style, wit, and compositional skills, as they rhyme verses in the traditional form know as the décima.

The festival is also known for the plethora of kiosks, tarps, and booths that cover the surrounding areas of the Hiram Bithorn Stadium lot, highlighting the work of local artisans and artists who travel from all over Puerto Rico to proudly display and sell their products here.  You can expect to find anything from t-shirts and lithographs, to hand-crafted jewelry and sculptures.  Hand-rolled cigars are also quite popular.  The stadium is conveniently located next to PR-22, and its two main entrances – one through Franklin Roosevelt Ave. in front of the Plaza Las Americas shopping center, the other on Domenech Ave. – are both an exit away from the expressway. (


The Festival Claridad begins on Thursday, February 26 and runs through Sunday, March 1.  A $5 dollar donation is requested at the gates.


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