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Skirball Cultural Center

Sunset Concerts: El Laberinto del Coco

Public Programs | Music

The band performs on a colorful stage with the name, El Laberinto del Coco in blue illuminated script above them.

Delight in the sounds and culture of Puerto Rico through the magic of music with Afro-Puerto Rican bomba fusion ensemble El Laberinto del Coco, founded by visionary percussionist Hector “Coco” Barez.

This is a past program

This program took place on
Thursday, July 18, 8:00 pm

About the Program

The island of Puerto Rico is known for various musical styles that have influenced not just Latin music, but also global musical trends. From the Afro-Caribbean styles that make up the salsa boom of the 1970s, to the "BOOM-chicka-BOOM" of the reggaeton beat that came to dominate the charts, Puerto Rican musicians innovate while never straying far from tradition. El Laberinto del Coco, an Afro-Puerto Rican bomba fusion ensemble founded by visionary percussionist Hector “Coco” Barez in 2017, delivers on the island's musical innovation while honoring bomba's genesis as music of resistance by enslaved Africans. El Laberinto del Coco, which translates to "Labyrinth of the Mind," reflects a commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional bomba music while staying true to its essence. El Laberinto's highly energetic performances not only entertain but also educate, as the multi-racial band members often share the historical and cultural significance of bomba music during their shows.

VIEW PROGRAM NOTES


Evening Schedule

Doors open at 6:30 pm. Concertgoers should arrive early to eat, drink, shop, and see current exhibitions. While relaxing in the Skirball's hillside courtyard before the concert, enjoy a set by dublab DJ Mike Styles (of Beats of All-Nations).

  • 6:30–7:30 pm: Join us on an art-making adventure on the Museum Terrace*, inspired by the exhibition Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak. Use repurposed materials as you create a crown inspired by Max from Where the Wild Things Are. Then have a wild rumpus of your own as you dance and sing at tonight’s concert! (One crown per person.)
    *The Museum Terrace is on your way to the Sendak exhibition.
  • 6:30–8:00 pm: DJ Mike Styles performs in Taper Courtyard. Plus, stop by an airbrush tattoo station by We Adorn You.
  • 7:00 pm: Listen to some of Maurice Sendak's most memorable stories in a cozy reading room in the Wild Things Are Happening exhibition.
  • 7:00–7:50 pm: Enjoy traditional Puerto Rican bomba dance lessons with Tosstones aka Jhan Lee Aponte.
  • 7:00–8:00 pm: Complimentary shaved ice, reminiscent of Old San Juan’s fabled and favorite ritual treat, available in Taper Courtyard.
  • 8:00 pm: The concert begins in Taper Courtyard.

About the Artists

El Laberinto del Coco incorporates a diverse range of traditional instruments such as barriles, cuá, and maraca, creating a rich and intoxicating sonic tapestry. Founder Hector "Coco" Barez has played alongside a who's who of artists, touring the world with Areyto Ballet Folklórico de Puerto Rico, GRAMMY Award-winning artists/groups such as Calle 13, Bacilos, Shakira, and Don Omar, and world-renowned bands like Bio Ritmo, Miramar, William Cepeda, and Bayanga. Barez decided to embark on a new musical journey, forming his current band and fusing powerful Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba percussion, jazzy Latin horns, and Santana-esque guitar, with Latin pop and rap vocals. While Barez’s song-arranging approach allows space for occasional guitar and drum solos, the band focuses on teamwork efforts where Barez’s hand-slapping on a barrel drum, the trap set drummer’s stickwork, a potent brass section, and classic call-and-response vocals work together to propel the galloping, danceable rhythms. At their most exhilarating level, the ensemble strikingly combines bomba, salsa, and hip-hop-inflected pop. This genre-bending collective— bridging Afro-Caribbean rhythms with Puerto Rican folklore and contemporary music—invites communities to dwell in joy, history, and fellowship through music. "That's what bomba does...it makes community. And we send this music, this message to people all around the world...Peace." says Coco Barez.

El Laberinto del Coco: Tiny Desk x globalFEST

Watch El Laberinto del Coco perform during NPRs Tiny Desk concerts.

Donor Support

Sunset Concerts at the Skirball are generously sponsored by:

The Bilger Family

The 2024 Sunset Concerts season is made possible in part by additional support from:

Media sponsors:

About Sunset Concerts

Image of outdoor stage with band playing and audience seated and listening. A large banner on the stage reads Skirball Stages

Our popular summertime music series is back! Get together with friends and family to sing and dance to an eclectic lineup of musicians in the Skirball’s picturesque hillside courtyard.

Taking place in the heart of our relaxing, communal oasis, our twenty-seventh season explores the diaspora and identity of African and Caribbean artists whose music warmly embraces humanity’s inherent right to freedom.

Mother holding young daughter dancing and smiling outside during a festival

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