Bombazo del Batey 2020:
In the beginning of 2020, Raíces set out to bring bomba and plena to our community. With a crew of drummers and dancers, we were sharing songs and rhythms, preparing for a series of bombazos. We were going to bring the batey- the circle where bomba is played, danced, and sung- to our community. We were going to bring our community to the batey.
But as with just about everything else, 2020 had other plans for us, for our community, and certainly for the batey. The community could not gather. The place where movement, rhythm, and song are exchanged became a place of danger. The circle was broken.
Bomba and plena are community traditions, meant to be played in a group, a group that could not gather. There were two gathering places though, that bomba and plena continued to ring out. One was online, through discussions and presentations over digital platforms, connecting bomberos and bomberas from the island and across the diaspora, and the other illustrated an important aspect of the roots of bomba, its history of resistance. At Black Lives Matter protests, Bombazos for Black Lives sprung up in Puerto Rico and throughout the Diaspora, including in our own state of New Jersey at Jersey City Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
We could not gather our own community as planned to teach, share, dance, play, and sing bomba. As our own artistic efforts turned towards the digital world, we wanted to stay true to the roots of resistance being demonstrated by our friends, colleagues, and fellow artists. So we offer our own artistic contribution, shared above, to our community and to the new “digital batey”, written to reflect the spirit of resistance and protest that is so crucial to these folkloric forms, both in Puerto Rico, and here in the diaspora.
Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders Through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.
Program funded by Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Additional project support has been provided by long term Raíces Cultural Center donors Angela Lugo, Linda Powell, Paul Alirangues, Emilie Stander, Casie Kittel and others. Thank you for your continued support throughout 2020!
View, learn and read more about the roots of resistance and contemporary expressions of of bomba and plena as a means of protest in the resource gallery below.
🇵🇷 Afro-Latinxs in Loíza, Puerto Rico were one of the first in Latin America to protest George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.— Victoria Leandra (@leandrareports) June 3, 2020
What a scene: bomba dancing, plena combativa and a beautiful community altar.
My latest for @Remezcla 👇🏽pic.twitter.com/PSNRVOYeKW
Plena music and protest in front of the federal court in Puerto Rico. #LaGenteAntesQueLaDeuda! #PeopleOverProfit— Katja Torres (@KatjaTorres) January 17, 2019
🎶 Who are they? The same ones who take away our acquired rights. Who are they? The same ones who sell our beloved patrimony.🎶 #COFINA #swainrejectdeal #muniland pic.twitter.com/M5jvj8WWTH
#Bomba revolucionaria: Musical protest this evening outside of the #PuertoRico governor’s mansion in #SanJuan calling for resignation of @ricardorossello. When this is all over, someone will have to write a book on the important role music played in this revolution. #fortaleza pic.twitter.com/KErInqVOg5— Michael Deibert (@michaelcdeibert) July 18, 2019