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Mapeyé

One of leading exponents of Puerto Rican folk music, Grupo Mapeyé was founded in 1978 by José Antonio Rivera Colón, also known as Tony Mapeyé. In addition to Rivera, the band consisted of Juan Pablo Rosario, Neftali and Hector Ortiz, joined by others as they evolved and were renamed “Orquesta Criolla Nacional”.

Mapeyé has faithfully maintained the traditions of jibaro folk music they have played since their first recording, Al Son del Mapeyé in 1980. As is typical with this genre of music, the group uses cuatros, güiro and bongos in their instrumentation.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the great success of the group, was explained well by Tony Mapeyé: “We have maintained a simple signature tune with the common people.” That signature has captured the spirit as well as style of the people’s heritage of folkloric music.

Following their debut album, Mapeyé has released several others, including Vienen Mis Montes Trovando in 1990, with the group’s typical mix of folkloric styles, such as the seis milonguero, Acuso recibo. Other albums included Mayoria de Edad and Parrandas Que Llegan in 1999.

Tony Mapeyé himself was born in 1948 in Morovis, Puerto Rico. Self-taught on the cuatro, he became a teacher in 1969 after completing his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico. He went on to work with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture between 1977 and 1993, helping to promote cultural programs throughout the island. During most of that time, he also performed with Grupo Mapeyé; combining his love for the cuatro and music with his vocation to promote the rich cultural heritage of his homeland. In 1994, as a part of that mission, he organized the annual event called “Cuatro-Encuentro”.

Mapeyé has and continues to perform throughout Puerto Rico, the United States and internationally, serving as proud representatives of Puerto Rico’s musical culture. For example, the band represented Puerto Rico in the annual International Décima Forum hosted in Spain.

But love of country and its culture does not stop with promoting its folk music. Mapeyé has also been prominent among the many artists and general public in condemning the continued use of Vieques, a small island that is part of Puerto Rico, as a training ground for the US Navy. The group’s protest recently took the form of a recording released in 2001, called Vieques, tierra para la paz that used folk style music as the medium for their social protest.

Discography

Vieques Tierra para la paz (2001)

Mayoria de Edad (1999)

Parrandas Que Llegan (1999)

Vienen Mis Montes Trovando (1990)

Al Son del Mapeyé (1980)

Más boricua soy (----)

Encuentros de amigos vol 2 (----)

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