La Bomba is one of the main Puerto Rican musical genres with cultural influences from West Africa, Tainos, Spain as well as other Caribbean islands. Bomba is described as a dialogue between dancer and drummer and is a dance of extreme elegance and deliberate steps. ” Hijos de Agüeybaná” (Children of Agüeybaná) is the ambassador of this genre of Puerto Rican music today. Although they mix Bomba with other genres such as Salsa, and Jazz, they never lose sight of its indigenous African roots.
The group Hijos de Agueybana directed by Otoqui Reyes consists of eight artists, all committed to preserving their Afro-Caribbean roots. The group has over ten years experience both of performing and offering workshops and courses on the historical and cultural significance of the genre of bomba. They have presented their dance and music to both national and international audiences across the Americas. In the Caribbean the African drum is central to cultural identity creating harmony, solidarity and leadership in both the music itself and the musicians who perform it, helping maintain social structure in communities and villages all over the Island.
In this, their first musical production, Otoqui Reyes, in collaboration with other great artists Cristi Mangual, Andy Montañez and Tony mapeyé creates a flavour unique to Puerto Rico. The drum or tambor Barril-Primo is played by Ángel Luis Reyes and Otoqui Reyes, revelling in its traditional rhythm whilst also integrating with other popular rhythms such as salsa and jazz, and electronic instrumentation such as indigenous-environmental “Lounge”. This creative collaboration is achieved by quality musicians such as: Luis Rosa, Tony Gonzalez and Ricky Torres, committed to creating art and music out of their rich culture. Complementary to the main drums come the second smaller ones which are played by Ramon Vazquez and Papo Aguilú together Jose Alicea, and Maraca. The harmony produced in several layers of drumming is accompanied by the joyful voices of Naomi Vasquez, Minerva Rosa and Quique Hernández.
Everything builds together in this production, like a big street party full of dance, culture and tradition – a great and tasty celebration of life!