Bomba is a musical expression created in Puerto Rico.
First developed at the end of the 17th century, Bomba flourished along the
coast of Puerto Rico where West Africans and their descendants worked the
colonial sugar canes.
Through fiery drum rhythms and improvised dance, the cane workers released
feelings of anger, resistance, and sadness about their condition.
It was at "Bailes de Bombas"
(Bomba Dances) where they celebrated baptisms and marriages,
and also planned rebellions. For this reason, these celebrations were only
permitted on Sundays and Feast Days. At Bailes the Bomba, the sounds of
drums called "barriles," typically made of empty codfish or rum barrels,
drew the crowd into a circle. Dancers took turns challenging the drums,
creating a dialog with their movements that the solo drummer answered. It is
said that women bomba dancers would typically dance with their skirt raised,
showing their slips, to ridicule the attire worn by plantation ladies.
We have families like the Cepedas, Ayalas, Alduen and others to thank for
preserving this precious part of our heritage for us. We thank them even
more for showing us how bailes de bomba can still be part of our lives
References and Suggested Reading
- Francisco Lopez Cruz, "La Music Folklorica de Puerto Rico", Troutman
Press 1967. [Book]
- Grupo Afro Boricua With William Cepeda, "Bombazo," Blue Jackel, 1998. [CD]
- Los Pleneros De La 21, "Somos Boricuas/We Are Puerto Rican:
Bomba Y Plena En Nueva York," Henry Street 1996. [CD]
- Smithsonian Folkways, "Puerto Rico in Washington", 1989. [CD]
- Francisco A. Scarano, "Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico: The
Plantation Economy of Ponce, 1800-1850," the University of Wisconsin Press,
- Dufrasne-González, J. Emanuel, "Puerto Rico también tiene Tambó,"
Impreso en Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, 1994." [Book]
For more information:
Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Cultural Center Address: 701 Tillery Street #13, Austin TX 78702-3738 (Map & Directions)
Mailing Address: 15228 Quiet Pond Court, Austin TX 78728-4555
Copyright ©1997-2017 Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance, Inc. All rights