What is Bomba you may ask?

Bomba is passion, roots, history, honor, resistance and resilience. Bomba is also an orginal music genre born in Puerto Rico from our african ancestors as a way to resist the violence of slavery through joy, connection to spirits and bodily autonomy. Similar to the spirituals sung by our enslaved brethren in the USA, here in PR you could hear the lamento throughout the sugar cane plantations as a way to collectively defy oppression and abuse.

In the bomba tradition the dancer sets the tone which is followed or imitated by the barriles (drums). When you dance you come into the batey which is considered a sacred space. So if there is someone dancing in the batey already you don’t come in unless you are invited to do so as a way to honor the conversation happening between the dancer and the music.

There are different types of bomba rhythms from el holandé to cuembé. These rhythms come from different parts of the island and they serve to express emotions that range from happiness to sorrow and are played depending on the context or the energy needed to be expressed.

Below you will find two great videos that can help you continue to learn more about Bomba and the history of the archipelago of Puerto Rico.