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A Traditional Bomba

Bomba is percussion-driven music created by enslaved Africans in Puerto Rico during the 17th century. To them, bomba was a source of political and spiritual expression. The lyrics conveyed a sense of anger and sadness about their condition, and songs served as a catalyst for resistance and uprisings. But bomba also moved them to dance and celebrate, helping them create community and identity. The music evolved through contact between slave populations from different Caribbean colonies and regions. As a result, bomba now has sixteen different rhythms to mark the pace of the singing and dance. This Viento de Agua performance demonstrates the gracimá and hoyoemula rhythms.