BUTTE – The Montana Folk Festival is back in Butte and about to begin, and this year’s event features a wide variety of performers from all over.
Among the artists scheduled is Plena Es, a band that plays a Puerto Rican style of music called bomba y plena.
“They come out with his style of hand drums that you can walk with. And they added lyrics to it and they talked about politics, religion, gossip, everything on the street,” said Plena Es member Pierre Ramos.
The Miami-based band perform their songs in Spanish, but even if the audience doesn’t understand the language, they will understand the music.
WATCH: Plena Es gears up for Montana Folk Festival
Plena Es prepares for the Montana Folk Festival
“We know there are people who don’t even speak Spanish, but when we start playing they start dancing and when we’re done they come to us and are so grateful,” said Juan Carlos Rivera, member of Plena Es.
Nani is a songwriter who sings in traditional Sephardic Ladino, an ancient language that is rapidly disappearing. The Amsterdam native keeps the language alive through song.
“Now there is no one who speaks it as a mother tongue. My grandmother spoke it and it is disappearing as we speak. And my project is to revive the language. And I try to write new songs in a dead language,” Nani said.
The free three-day music event will feature more than a dozen other artists on six stages as it returns after being canceled for the past two years.
“Seeing dancing for a change, we haven’t seen dancing in the streets for a long time and we hope people will feel welcome and free to dance their hearts out,” said Folk Festival organizer George Everett.