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BOMBA-DANCING THE DRUM

 A documentary film

WHAT IS BOMBA?  WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE DANCING?

Bomba is a folkloric Puerto Rican music/ dance form that is part of foundation of contemporary Puerto Rican music and modern day Salsa.

 Bomba is less well known and less often performed than Plena, another Puerto Rican tradition music. Many scholars including, film director Ashley James, feel that Bomba "was looked down upon by many Puerto Ricans. Bomba was abandoned by Afro-Puerto Ricans who tried to escape their slave days and denied by Euro/Puerto Ricans who choose to look to their Spanish heritage rather than Africa for cultural and artistic icons". 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BOMBA. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PLENA.

 

Bomba-Dancing the Drum is a documentary film that focuses on the shared identity, spirituality and dedication of the Cepeda family, the "patriarch family of Bomba."

For more than 80 years members of the Cepeda family has been devoted their collective energy, creativity and talent to maintain the tradition of bomba in Puerto Rico. Don Rafael Cepeda, the 86 year old head of the family and DoÔ a Caridad have keep this heritage alive and have passed it on their children and grandchildren. The film traces the evolution of bomba through the personal, heart-felt experiences of three generations of the Cepeda family in Manhattan and Puerto Rico. Bomba-Dancing the Drum combines extensive interviews, oral histories, archival photographs and videotape footage and demonstrations by dancers and drummers of the Cepeda family to present the universal theme of a family’s love and commitment to tradition, dance, music and culture.

WHO ARE THE CREATORS OF THE FILM?

Ashley James, Director

Roberta L. Singer, Producer

Bomba-Dancing the Drum is the result of a collaboration between award-winning filmmaker Ashley James, and renowned ethnomusicologist Roberta Singer.

Ashley James holds a Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking and has a national television credits. He is the founder of the Bay Area based Searchlight Films and director of Searchlight Educational Media, a non-profit educational organization for documentary films. His numerous documentaries include "We Love You Like a Rock-The Dixie Hummingbirds" a feature length film about gospel music (winner of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame award) and "And Still We Dance", an hour long portrait of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival which has been distributed by PBS. Mr. James is currently the Station Director at KTOP-TV in Oakland, California. He has been a three term president and 15 year board member of the Film Arts Foundation, the largest regional organization of independent filmmakers in the United States.

Roberta L Singer holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology and Folklore from Indiana University. Since 1970, Roberta Singer has spent years absorbing and chronicling Puerto Rican music and culture and is tireless source of information on Bomba and Plena two of Puerto Rico folkloric dance styles. Ms. Singer has been involved in numerous projects involving folkloric music including co-authoring liner notes for albums and CDs( e.g."Somos Boricuas" by Los Plenaros de la 21), producing a concert series of Puerto Rican and Cuban traditional music in New York (1986-92) and organizing residencies for artists from traditional music/dance groups such as Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas and Los Hermanos Cepeda.

WHERE CAN I SEE THE FILM?

Bomba-Dancing the Drum has excited and enthralled film-goers all over the world, reminiscent of the audience response to Buena Vista Social Club. Bomba-Dancing the Drum has been screened at the Festival Latinamericano de Cine y Literatura in Rotterdam and the New York International Latino Film Festival. Bomba-Dancing the Drummer was the winner of the Best Music Film prize at 19th Bilan due Film Ethographie at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris. The film has also been seen in Los Angeles,Osaka, Japan, Bilbao, Spain and Havana, Cuba. Here’s hoping  we’ll be able to see this film in the Bay Area real soon.

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