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Bomba


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 today.

References and Suggested Reading


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
Phone: +1.512.251.8122      Email: dance@prfdance.org          Web: www.prfdance.org     
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