Bomba for beginners: Where to learn how to drum or dance along

Bomba For Beginners: Where To Learn How To Drum Or Dance Along

Photo courtesy of Escuela de Bomba y Plena Tapa Cepeda via Instagram.

By Cynthia De Saint

February 28, 2024

If there is one thing Boricuas are known for all around the world, it’s their vibrant, infectious music infused with the unique rhythms of the island.

If you walk the colorful streets of Old San Juan on the weekend, you will likely hear the unmistakable sound of Bomba, the musical genre that emerged 400 years ago from the West African enslaved people who worked in sugar plantations along Borinquen’s coast.

Centuries later, with its multilayered rhythms, simple chant-like melodies sung in unison, and lyrics that often feature expressions borrowed from former African languages and Caribbean dialects, Bomba remains one of the most popular forms of folk music on the island.

In Puerto Rico, Bomba can be heard almost anywhere there’s nightlife, with some venues even featuring live drummers and dancers. There are also schools of Bomba and Plena (another Boricua genre) dedicated to preserving and promoting Puerto Rico’s traditional music and dances. But… What if you live in Florida? Can you still learn to play or dance Bomba?

Buenas noticias!

There are excellent places in the Sunshine State where you can take Bomba classes, participate in workshops and even learn to play the drums!

Escuela de Bomba y Plena Tata Cepeda

Located in Kissimmee, in Central Florida, this academy serves as a tribute to owner Liz Cepeda’s mother, Tata Cepeda, founder of Puerto Rico-based Escuela de Bomba y Plena Doña Caridad Brenes de Cepeda.

Cepeda is an eighth-generation Bomba performer whose nonprofit organization aims to educate and transmit the values and cultural roots of Puerto Rico’s traditional dance and music.

In her classes, students get introduced to the history and details of Bomba, then to the basic steps for dance students. Percussion students learn basic drumming techniques.

For location and more information, visit HERE.

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Photo courtesy of 𝖤𝗇 𝗅𝖺 𝖤𝗌𝖼𝗎𝖾𝗅𝖺 𝖽𝖾 𝖡𝗈𝗆𝖻𝖺 𝖸 𝖯𝗅𝖾𝗇𝖺 𝖳𝖺𝗍𝖺 𝖢𝖾𝗉𝖾𝖽𝖺 via Instagram.

Bomba Body Dance Drum Co. / Cukiara

CuKiAra — a composite word that means sacred Earth spirit and people — is the name of an ensemble dedicated to sharing the energy and passion of Bomba, Plena, and Indigenous Boricua music in Tampa Bay and the Central Florida communities.

A touring dance and drumming company that has traveled all around the world, in addition to their performances CuKiAra offers workshops, music and dance programs, and Bomba dance and drumming fitness classes.

This passionate group of performers/instructors not only educate people about the power of the drum and the healing properties of movement of the body in cultural dance, but throughout the year it also hosts Bomba Socials known as “Bailes de Bomba” for the students and the public alike. And that calls for a resounding and very Boricua “Weeeepa!”

For location and more information, visit HERE.

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Photo courtesy of Cukiara via Facebook.

Mira and learn

Of course, if you are a quick learner and nimble on your feet, you can also learn bomba dance from an online tutorial taught by Afro-Puerto Rican dancer Mar Cruz.

Through the music and easy-to-follow lessons, Mar and her sister María are reclaiming their cultural traditions and celebrating Black pride and Boricua heritage.

To watch, visit HERE.

Start getting ready!

Al final, no matter how you choose to learn to dance or play Bomba, just make sure that you are ready for the Festival de Bomba y Plena in Tampa!

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Image courtesy of Fl Events and Festivals.

The annual event feature live music featuring entertainers from Puerto Rico and the USA, and celebrates the richness of Puerto Rico’s culture. Everyone participates in playing instruments (panderos, barriles, guiros, and more!) and singing along in the best Boricua tradition. For more information visit HERE.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.6?republication pixel=true&post=8077&ga4=G N1W0LBHRL2


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