Este es un baile de resistencia y orgullo.
Be mindful about that.”

(Shefali Shah)

In the Bomba y Plena Workshops (for adults and for youth), students learn Bomba songs, dances, rhythms, and beats along with Bomba history and its significance and place in Puerto Rican and Afro-Caribbean culture. Students also learn how to play cuás, barriles (drums), maracas. The workshop is taught and directed by Shefali Shah, and Hector Lugo curates the music section of the class.

Workshops meet at La Peña Cultural Center, from mid-September to mid-July
(please call 510-681-1036 or email for more info):
Adult Workshop: Sundays 1-3pm ($15)
Youth Workshop – Under 7 group (starts at age 4): Thursdays 4-4.50pm
Youth Workshop – Over 7 group: Thursday 5-6pm

(Youth workshops: $12 drop-in fee; Discount prices available if trimester is paid in full).

Bomba is a traditional form of Puerto Rican music and dance. The central feature of all bomba dancing is its improvisational character. The dancer calls, with her or his moves, for specific accents and figures, piquetes, that the drummer has to execute on the drum. This occurs in the form of a friendly yet fiery competition where each dancer and drummer showcases their skills.

Musically, bomba features the use of the drum and other percussion instruments in combination with an African derived call and response vocal style. In The Bomba y Plena Workshop we study four of the major styles of bomba – the sicá, the yubá, the cuembé, and the holandé.

Bomba class by Marina Romani

Bomba class by Marina Romani