Nelson Baez

Nelson Baez

Pronounced “BOAM-ba,” this Afro-Puerto Rican genre of music and dance is lively, full of movement and rhythm, and best described, in the words of Bomba Master Nelson Baez, as a conversation between a drummer and a dancer: “The dancer is literally playing that drum through their body.” Bomba is completely unchoreographed – the drummer must predict intuitively what the dancer will do. Nowadays, drummers and dancers often perform onstage, but Nelson prefers to think of the experience of Bomba in its traditional setting: a circle amongst actively participating spectators. “As the people get inspired,” he says, “one would come into the center of the circle.” This intricate relationship between the dancer and the lead drum, or subidor, is enveloped by other drummers, singing voices, and the movements of the spectators, resulting in a beautiful and impressive artistic experience.

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Artist Cultural Focus

Artist Cultural Focus: Puerto Rican

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  • Nelson Baez, Bomba Master

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