PLC brings Latin American sounds to Iowa

BY ELLE WIGNALL | JUNE 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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When crowds requested a mixture of Latin American music from the Des Moines based high-energy band Salsa Vibe, the band members knew it was time for a side project.

Their spin off of Salsa Vibe, Parranderos Latin Combo (PLC), a 7 member ensemble, is still bringing a broad range of Latin American music to the Iowa music scene after their start in 2010.

"All the parties I have seen have been high energy parties," DJ Edwin Alvarado, a fellow musician and good friend of the band members said. "I had an opportunity to play with them. I would say they have been one of the highest energy parties I have ever played."

PLC will be hosting another high energy live music party in Iowa City on Friday, June 8 at 10:30 PM at Caliente Night Club, 171 Highway 1. Coming from various Central American, South American, and Iowan backgrounds, the members of the band play a combination of salsa and other Latin American styles and genres.

It is a mixture of a Columbian genre called Vallenato and Dominican Republican genre called Bachata with Waltzes, Salsas, and Cumbia, Roland Hart, the band's clarinet and flute player, said.

"We very much change the style based on the venue and our audience," Hart said. Hart, a music and psychology major at Drake University in Des Moines, began performing with PLC nine months ago.

Hart is one of two non-Spanish speaking band members, he said, and all but one of their songs are performed in Latin America's traditional Spanish. Hart said he was drawn to the opportunity to play live Latin tunes in central Iowa.

Trevor Harvey, University of Iowa music lecturer, said Latin American music has gained a lot of traction in the 21 century.

 "I think there's a few factors to look at," Harvey said. "One obviously is just the changing demographic landscape of the US. Even a place like Iowa—which is perceived across the nation as one of the most homogenous, white, Midwestern states—has seen a change in demographics."

According to the 2010 U.S. Census data, West Liberty became the first majority-minority city in Iowa with 52.2 percent of the population identifying as Hispanic or Latino.

This change in demographics illuminates cultural and traditional differences of ethnic groups in society and sparks the desire to become more familiar with these differences, Harvey added.

"I think that these changing demographics bring greater awareness and interest as a society, as a whole," Harvey said.

Different genres of Latin music are commonly very similar sounding to the untrained ear because the countries of Latin and South America share a socio-historical background, according to Harvey.

"The idea of bringing different genres together and mixing them together is very natural in that setting that's been in the history all along," Harvey said.

PLC draws big crowds of Latinos and Hispanics, Hart said, but they really perform for anybody who loves to dance.

"PLC plays for the general public—everybody who enjoys Latin music," Alvarado said. "You see white people, black people, oriental people. It's an international mix indeed."

Tickets for Friday's show are $7. PLC is sure to bring together Latin music fans for a night full of live music and energy.

"PLC brings the crowd, and they will keep you dancing all night long," Alvarado said. 

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