Balkan Meets Bomba

by Francisco G. Gómez

If you love the AfroBoricua music of Puerto Rico or the music of the Balkans, you would have made it a point not to have missed a phenomenal fusion of barrilles, sousaphone, cuá, violin, maraca, trumpet, dance and accordion on February 8th at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. The Bombazo Dance Company and the Bronx Arts Ensemble joined together in a beautiful collaborative production that was not only musically interesting, but artistically and creatively delightful!

Who are these people, you might ask; well, “The BAE brings music and related arts to Bronx schools and neighborhoods. They contribute to the cultures of Bronx communities through live performances and innovative arts education that stimulate creativity, imagination, and aspirations. The BDC is a 501(c)- 3 non-profit drum and dance company, whose mission is to preserve, educate and showcase traditional Afro Puerto Rican Bomba and Afro Caribbean and traditional folkloric elements.They further combine those main ingredients, fusing them with classical, contemporary and social styles of dance. Thus, creating a new movement vocabulary while still preserving the authenticity of their culture”.

To see some of the wonderful choreography by Milteri Tucker Concepción, founder and director of BDC, and hear some of the musical arrangements by Mary Ann McSweeney, one of the artists at BAE, view the clip below. The amazing dancer is Noele Phillips, and the musical piece is an Opa Cupa (read: «opa tzupa»); it’s a shout of exhortation to the dance used by gypsies of South-Eastern Europe.

The Bombazo Dance Company and the Bronx Arts Ensemble’s “Balkan Bomba” took it outside the box with this outstanding production. It’s a testament to the fact that music, song and dance are truly universal, and they share a commonality that transcends cultural and artistic barriers….

See Program below:


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