Bomba catching on stateside, from coast to coast
Playing no small role in bomba’s elevated stateside profile is maestro Ángel Luis Reyes, who, according to an EFE report, has been giving bomba workshops across the country.
A Río Piedras native who was raised in New York, Reyes learned percussion as a teen and was soon a member of the Bomba Symphonic Orchestra, a project founded in 1977 and whose ranks also included José Feliciano.
Bomba, based on a rhythmic form brought to the New World, including Puerto Rico, by African slaves during the colonial era, is no longer only an East Coast or Midwest phenomenon in the States, Reyes told EFE. Nor is it something Puerto Ricans could have kept to themselves even if they’d wanted to, he noted.
“I give a lot of credit to the folks in New York and Chicago, but there is also bomba in Seattle, where even people of Chinese descent sing and dance it in their own language,” he said recently while conducting a workshop in Columbia, S.C. “The idea is for everyone to keep this feeling alive.”
“In Puerto Rico a lot of young people do it,” he added. “Even when they’re rapping and break dancing, they do it to bomba rhythms with a modern twist. No less than 10 generations have kept it going.”