BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalonians gathered to celebrate Puerto Rico’s cultural heritage with a festival honoring the island’s national instrument Sunday.

The Buffalo History Museum and the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York partnered to host the Festival del Cuatro Puertoriqueño. The event was conceived to spotlight the cuatro, a small guitar that has played an important role in Puerto Rico’s history and Hispanic heritage at large.

“It’s important to celebrate the instrument because it’s the national instrument of Puerto Rico,” said Cesemiro Rodriguez, president of the Hispanic Heritage Council. “Everyone relates to el cuatro, in Puerto Rico and the diaspora here in the U.S., everyone enjoys it.”

The instrument is commonly played in ensembles and is considered a key link to Puerto Rico’s history and heritage.

The museum’s walls were filled with live music from a trio led by composer and cuatro educator Fabiola Mendez, along with dancing and cultural performances, allowing visitors a chance to learn firsthand about the island’s rich cultural traditions.

The event took place during Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Sept. 15 and continues until Oct. 15.

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Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.