Segunda Quimbamba

Michi Carpena

Michele Carpena is a first-generation Puerto Rican woman born, raised, and educated in Jersey City NJ. Her parents, John and Lucy Carpena, kept their Puerto Rican heritage and roots alive with their storytelling, maintaining strong community bonds, faith, and music, of course. As a result Michele was exposed to many celebrations of Puerto Rican culture whether it was in celebrating El Dia de San Juan or La Virgen de La Providencia, and in being her church choir’s youngest member at 10 years old, she often accompanied the elders on parrandas for the holiday. In September 2016 she started taking dance and drum classes and by March of 2019 she was singing on stage with the group on the island of Puerto Rico.
In the years to follow, Michele would continue to deepen her learning and understanding of Bomba and Plena, including studying with other instructors in the Diaspora and on the island of Puerto Rico. In 2022, she completed a yearlong dance apprenticeship with Nanette Hernandez of Segunda Quimbamba and has also composed several bomba and plena songs. Michele’s biggest achievement in Bomba and Plena so far is understanding and embracing the fact that this music keeps her an eternal student where she is constantly learning about herself, el Batey, the world and most importantly about the rich and vibrant history that our ancestors kept alive in the form of song and dance. Michele currently volunteers as a member of the support team for Tres 2Q, Segunda Quimbamba’s Youth Ensemble.