(Live Blog) Bomba Panel – AFRAM 337 A, Group 5

After the dance workshop many of the performers participated on a panel. Many of the performers talked about how their art, Bomba or Fandango, has influenced their life outside of practice. One of the panelist talk about her art creating a safe space for her to find her identity. Another panelist talked about how sometimes they perform themselves into “being”. The idea that as artists they sometimes get so caught up in their performance that it becomes who they are. One of my favorite moments of the panel was when the drummer from southern Puerto Rico talked about her experience being a woman. She talks about how Bomba is about the feeling of home and its origins of being played in, Casas, as oppose to being played on the street. As a women, she talks about how when she plays the drums, she wants her listeners to love what is being played as opposed to who is playing. She highlights that the drum doesn’t have a sex, so the expectations shouldn’t be applied to the artists playing the instruments. As I reflect on their answers, I realize that through music and art, our stories of our cultures and ancestors can be passed down through generations. I want to end this post with what one panelist said, “In order to explore or travel, you must travel home first. It is when she [her child] knows her Puerto Rican Culture, she can then travel the world”. As the world becomes more connected, it is important we stay grounded in our own cultures and histories. – Paolo Eleccion

(Live Blog Post) Women Who Rock: Bomba Workshop – AFRAM 337 Section A, Group 5

As we are introduced to the workshop, the lead speaker highlights the importance of the beats of the drums because it connects the dancers to the world. The speaker emphasizes the importance of not only dancing to the music, but dancing with the music as well. As the beats of the drums begin, claps begin to roar that mimic the beginnings of a slow thunder clap. The crowd begins to sway as the workshops begins. We are told that it is important to say hello before beginning the dance, to greet our ancestors and to pay respects to the 400-year-old tradition. As the crowd begins to move, the beats of the drums mimic and reflect their every move. Bomba is known as the oldest genre of music from Puerto Rico. When a drummer and the lead dancer switch places, we are introduced to the Spanish word, Paseo, meaning a leisurely walk or stroll. As the dance floor expands, the dance moves get bigger, and the energy picks up. In the third and final dance, the lead dancer brings out a shaker and a call and response begins. The crowd response with, “Hey Hey! Hey Ma Ma!”. – Paolo Eleccion