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date: 14 December 2019


  • Melanie Maldonado


Puerto Rican traditional music and dance genre. This creole music and dance was practiced on plantations and in free Black communities throughout the coastal regions of the island, by some accounts, as early as the 17th century. Bomba is African-derived music that has deep roots in Congolese, West African, and Afro-French cultural expressions and European (colonial) dances. Song structures, or seises, dictate a distinct rhythm for the drummers and the dancers; some of these seises include Sicá, Danué, Gracimá, Kalindá, Cuembé, Yubá, Leró, Holandé, Rulé, Paulé, Cocobalé, Corvé, Cunyá, and Bambulaé, amongst others. Bomba is both the name of the genre and the name of the main instrument—a barrel-shaped drum. The lead drum, or the subidor, marks the movements of a dancer who is using his or her body, clothing, or another prop to interpret the constant rhythm; the second drum, or the buleador, maintains a steady rhythm. The two other necessary instruments are a shaker or ...

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