Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee invites the public to a free workshop, lecture and performance of traditional Puerto Rican bomba music and dance by Taller Balancé Bomba Afro-Boricua in Tallahassee on September 18-19, 2019.
“We are pleased to welcome the public to these events to experience one of the most traditional cultural expressions of Puerto Rico,” said Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee.“This ensemble, comprised of performers from Kissimmee, Orlando, Palm Bay and Jacksonville, exemplifies the diversity and depth of Florida’s cultural heritage.”
As part of the 2019 Folklife Artist-in-Residence Program, the Florida Folklife Program and the Florida State University Center for Music of the Americas will present Taller Balancé Bomba Afro-Boricua in a workshop and lecture at FSU Westcott Building in room 060 (located on the backside of Ruby Diamond Concert Hall on the corner of University Way and Convocation Way) from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. The residency, designed to bring folk and traditional arts to broader audiences, will culminate in a free public performance at Mission San Luis on Thursday, September 19, 2019 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Taller Balancé Bomba Afro-Boricua. Photo courtesy of Angel Reyes Romero.
Taller Balancé Bomba Afro-Boricua was founded by Angel Reyes Romero, considered one of the most exceptional masters of bomba music and dance. Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Reyes started his music career at an early age on drum set and latin percussions. Reyes apprenticed with Puerto Rican bomba patriarch Don Rafael Cepeda where he trained meticulously on the barriles, or bomba barrel drums, and dance techniques. He performed and toured as a principle member of La Familia Cepeda, Los Hermanos Ayala and Paracumbé, the three most important groups representing the regional styles of bomba.
In 1981, Reyes founded Agueybaná, developing community and after school arts programs for youth. In 2002, he participated in “ReEncuentro de Pies, Tambores y Faldas,” a collaborative performance of flamenco, bomba and kathak (classical Indian dance) in which he and his son Otoqui assumed the roles of choreographers, singers and drummers. Later, the show won the “Premio ACE” and “HOLA” awards for Best Musical Production.
In Chicago in 2008, Reyes was recognized by the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center for his dedication and contribution to bomba. In 2015, Reyes established Taller Balancé Bomba Afro-Boricua in Florida, dedicated to sharing bomba drum, dance, and drum-making with new generations and uniting diverse cultures through music.
Bomba is a traditional dance and musical style of Puerto Rico characterized by an improvised dialogue between an individual dancer and the primary drummer. Consistent with the three main cultural influences that make up Puerto Rican identity, bomba emerged from West African, Taíno and Spanish cultural roots. The central components include percussion, song and dance; these combined cultural expressions were conducted in plantation communities across the island. Born out of the sugarcane plantation history of Puerto Rico, bomba developed among field laborers and enslaved people of African and indigenous descent. Although initially more rhythms were used, the primary four that have been preserved include sicá, cüembé, yubá and holandés.
For more information about the residency and public activities, visit flheritage.com/Folklife.
About the Florida Department of State’s Florida Folklife Program
The Florida Folklife Program, a component of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, documents and presents Florida’s folklife, folklore and folk arts. The program coordinates a wide range of activities and projects designed to increase the awareness of Floridians and visitors about Florida’s traditional culture. Established in 1979 by the legislature to document and present Florida folklife, the program is one of the oldest state folk arts programs in the nation. For more information visit flheritage.com/Folklife.