Volume 5 No. 1 - SegundaQuimbamba.org

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Volume 5 No. 1 - SegundaQuimbamba.org
Giiiro y Maraca
Vol. 5, No. 1
Winter, 2001
A PUBLICATION OF THE SEGUNDA QUIMBAMBA FOLKLORIC CENTER, INC.
Ensayos Sobre Las "Ades
Marciales" Africanas y La Bomba
de Puerto Rico
actividades de "Black History Month" en
febrero del corriente. Con este trasfondo
pudimos modificar un ensayo
original de Paco Valcarcel
titulado "Una Introduction a las
•Artes Marciales - AfroCariberias," que incluimos aqui.
Simultaneamente, yo tuve
la buena suerte de compartir con
Carlos "Tato" Torres en Nueva
York y comparar estas
conclusiones. De ese encuentro
vino el ensayo de Tato Torres
" 'Cocobale' African Martial
Arts in Bomba," que incluimos aqui tambien.
Tato es un antropologo de esos que se envuelve
completa y activamente en todo que tiene que
ver con sus investigaciones. Ultimamente toca,
canta y compone pare la agrupacion de bomba
y plena, YERBABUENA. Para Tato,
YERBABUENA es mas un concepto que intenta
romper el molde de grupos de bomba y plena.
A este joven boricua le sobra talento como
veran ustedes en el ensayo siguiente.
esig*,
010
Introduction
Editorial Fue un
encuentro simple y
genuino. Un encuentro
entre dos inteligentes y
destacados boricuas. Uno
joven, otro maduro. El
joven a punto de lanzarse
a la abogacia
reconociendo en si mismo
su afan para la investigation de un aspecto
fascinante de la diaspora africana: el
desarrollo de la "artes marciales" africanas
disfrazadas en baile. El mismo habia
investigado varios ',crises caribeilos y
latinoamericanos sin darse cuenta de las
posibles conexiones en su propia tierra. El
otro, cuarenton, es bailador de la bomba
puertorriquella sin igual. Fue en el encuentro
que este pudo profundizar por primera vez
sobre los estilos de baile de una bomba sacra,
"Misierere," y mas importante aun, el baile
cocobale y las "artes marciales." Asi fue que
Roberto Cepeda y Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel
se encontraron en el Centro Foklorico Segunda
Quimbamba. Esa conversation germinO una
demostracion de los enlaces africanos en los
bailes del capoeira brasilefio, la colombia y el
mani cubano, y la bomba puertorriquena
cocobale que se celebro en Trenton Central
High School en New Jersey por medio de
nuestro amigo, Hector Bonilla, durante las
Inside:
An Introduction to Afro-Caribbean Martial Arts
Spanish Version ....
...p6
"Cocobale" African Martial Arts in Bomba
P9
Spanish Version... ...
...p12
Profiles From Ricon Criollo: Jose Rivera
CD Reviews ...
...p20
2
Giiiro y Maraca
Hay, tal vez, cierto nivel de repetition en
los dos ensayos pero no llega al punto de
disminuir la contribution de los dos en su
totalidad. Nos honramos en Guiro y Maraca en
presentarlas, ya que estas observaciones no se
ven todo los dias ni entre los boricuas que
saben de bomba. Admito que los ensayos
senalan la necesidad de seguir investigando
esto temas, temas que no han recibido la
atencion que se merecen
uno lo agarra con las dos manos y el otro con
una mano para atacar. Uno de los hombres
sale de la misma pelea y empieza a tirar
piquetes. A tirar los piquetes el otro lo ataca a
la misma vez. Pero el bailarin siempre
mantiene el palo en las manos, to' el tiempo
porque recuerdate que eso sigue siendo una
pelea. Cuando el bailarin tira los piquetes el
otro lo ester atacando. Entonces el se ester
protegiendo con el palo mientras tira los
piquetes a la misma vez. Tan pronto se tiran los
dos, que se arrancan, en ese momento, arrancan
los tambores.
"Si to no sabes cocobale
No to pongas a bailar"
Asi es el coro del "Baile del Coco" de la
libreta de Don Rafael Cepeda. El cocobale es
el enlace entre los ensayos de Torres y
Valcarcel, la masica autoctona borinquelia y la
coreografia en bomba titulada cocobale que se
conoce por medio de las agrupaciones y ballet
fokloricos dirigidos por el Don Rafael.
Roberto Cepeda se recuerda muy bien de la
presentaci6n coreografiada:
"Cuando nosotros montabamos el
ntimero con la familia Cepeda, lo haciamos
empezando con un hombre que le trata de
enamorar la mujer al otro. Entonces el hombre
viene y lo empuja y se intercambian palabras.
Entonces ahi viene uno y saca el palo y el otro
saca el palo y ahi rompe la bomba, los dos
empiezan a bailar y los dos empiezan a ejecutar
el baile.
Los palos eran palos del cua, un poquito
Inas grande. Como del piso a la rodilla. Puede
ser cualquier tipo de madera pero que sea
fuerte, porque a base de la emotion de la gente
a veces se parten los palos.
Los palos se agarraban con las dos
manos. Pero en la variation con los piquetes,
Tu ye, en esos tiempos la gente usaba el
machete para cortar la caria, pero usaban el palo
tambien, para trabajar tambien. Pues, para usar
los machetes, tambien usaban los palos. En vez
de usar el machete, en los baffles, a veces se
usaban los palos. Para crear la escena habian
mucha gente, mujeres que hablaban, gritaban y
to' eso. Y asi se hacia la coreografia."
Editor's Introduction: It has always been our
hope at Gairo y Maraca that we could
document, in some small way, the richness and
complexities of art fog ms that have existed for
centuries in Puerto Rico, in some small way.
Admittedly, this is no small task. Decades of
neglect layered upon undercurrents of racial bias
relegated bomba, especially, and to some extent
plena, as art forms that have remained obscure
and left to the oral history traditions of our
nation. Much has changed in the last twenty
years, a lot of it on this side of the charco that
separates the Puerto Rican faithful. All of which
made it especially poignant to witness a short
encounter between two Puerto Ricans discussing
new discoveries that neither of them realized
about bomba and the concept of African martial
arts forms disguised as dance throughout the
African diaspora. It occurred during a practice
of the group SEGUNDA QUIMBAMBA and it
engaged a young boricua with a penchant for
research in the martial arts and a foot in the door
Guiro y Maraca
3
of the orthodox, legal profession. He was
acutely aware of the African traditions and the
need to further elaborate upon martial arts-asdance within the diaspora. What he was
unaware of, due in no small way to the trends
described above, was the interconnections
Cocobale Demonstration (F. Valcarcel and E. Torre s)
between the bomba of the Island, especially the
cocobale dance, and the subject of his avocation.
Across from him was a master of bomba dance
whose name graces a bomba dance competition
held yearly in Ponce. This seasoned veteran has
seen it all, one could say. Except that he too
acknowledges that he never viewed the dance
steps he learned from the age of five as
containing patterns of movement that may be
similar to martial arts-as-dance. From its
inception the interchange between the elder
statesman, Roberto Cepeda, and the younger
researcher, Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel was
laced with possibilities. Indeed, it led to a live
demonstration of Brazil's capoeira, Cuba's
colombia and mani dances, and Puerto Rico's
cocobale during the Black History Month
celebrations in Trenton Central High School in
February 2001. It also led to a revision of an
original essay titled "An Introduction to AfroCaribbean Martial Arts" by Paco Valcarcel that
we reprint herein.
Simultaneously, and fortunately for us, I
shared some of these preliminary conclusions
about the stick-fighting dance, cocobale with
Carlos "Tato" Torres in New York, who had
also previously prepared a separate piece
documenting some of the identical trends that
Valcarcel was finding. Tato is a composer,
singer and drummer for an exciting group in the
city called YERBABUENA. Actually,
YERBABUENA is more a concept and a vehicle
than your typical bomba & plena group. And
that's due to the energy and vision that Tato
brings as a cultural anthropologist along with a
small group of like-minded cultural activists who
perform with the group. His essay, "'Cocobale'
African Martial Arts in Bomba," is also included
in this issue.
The reader may find a level of similarity
that borders on repetition in these two works
which in my opinion does not detract from their
contribution as a whole. Given that some of
these observations may break new ground,
within old roots that is, even amongst us who
profess to know bomba well, I am convinced
that my decision to leave them, essentially as is,
is the right one.
"Si to no sabes cocobaM
No to pongas a bailar"
Such is the chorus of the song "Baile del
Coco," which says: "If you don't know
cocobale, Don't attempt to dance it." Its
admonition stands in contrast to what is usually
the inviting, participatory nature of bomba dance
in Puerto Rico; and with good reason. CocobaM
is danced with sticks, simulating the feints,
thrusts and parries of actual combat; not exactly
game for the novice. The cocobale dance is a
unifying theme in the essays we present below.
This particular song is from the songbook of
Don Rafael Cepeda and is used in the
choreographed piece performed by his family on
several occasions. Roberto Cepeda, his son,
remembers the choreographed presentation as
follows:
4
Giiiro y Maraca
"The first scene involves a man that obviously
tries to steal the affection of another man's
female friend. This leads to a physical and verbal
confrontation which sets the stage for the stick
fighting. Once the sticks are revealed, the
bomba begins and the two men begin the dance.
The sticks are typically the same sticks we use to
play the cua, actually a little longer. They run
from the floor to about your knee. Any wood
can be used, although we always used hard
woods, because it wasn't surprising when other
emotions took over during the choreography
which led to a number of broken sticks.
"The sticks were held usually in both
hands. One variation allowed an attack to be
made with the stick swung by one hand, and this
was during the piquetes of the lead dancer.
What would happen is that in the course of the
stick fight in the beginning of the number one of
the dancers would begin dancing to the drum
and start his individual moves, his piquetes. At
that time the other dancer / fighter would attack.
At all times the dancer who alternates dancing to
the drum always maintains a hold on the stick.
Remember that this was a constant fight. When
attacked the lead dancer would use the stick to
defend the attack, all the while throwing
piquetes to the drummer.
"What I learned was that in those times
people used a machete to work the sugar cane,
but the use of a stick to help that along was
common. Both were used. On stage, however,
we would also have many people to re-create a
crowded scene. Women would talk, encourage
the men, shout and so on. All of these elements
were present in the choreography."
An Introduction to Afro-Caribbean
Martial Arts
By Francisco Valcarcel
When most of us hear the phrase "martial
arts" we conjure up images of Bruce Lee
fighting single-handedly against a band of thugs,
armed only with fists of fury and dazzling spinkicks. A great many of us would be surprised to
learn that the Far East is not the only region of
the world to have developed sophisticated forms
of unarmed combat. And very few of us would
know that the real cradle of the martial arts is
not the Sino-Japanese world but the continent of
Africa -- Egypt, to be precise.
The so-called Greco-Roman form of
wrestling (from which modern-day Olympic
freestyle wrestling is derived) had its real origins
not in the arenas of Rome, but in the sandy
tombs of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The
tomb in Beni Hasan, for instance, houses a mural
which depicts a multitude of bare-hand combat
attacks and defense — it is arguably the earliest
form of martial arts instruction in evidence.
While "fighting never became the pharaohs'
favorite sport," the phenomenon of organized
unarmed combat methods was not limited to the
Nile Valley basin. To the south, the Nuba had
their form of wrestling, which is still practiced
today. Even farther south, the Zulu people have
their own style of stick fighting, Zulu impe. And
more important for our purposes, the Kongo
people had their n'golo — from which the
immensely popular modern-day martial art of
copoeira is acknowledged to have come from.
Thompson acknowledges the contribution
that Puerto Ricans made to the urban art
form, drawing on their own bomba y
plena
As a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave
Trade, many Africans lost their lives and homes,
many kingdoms were all but decimated as a
result of the European incursions into the
African continent. Yet a great number of
Giiiro y Maraca
5
African art fog ins survived — with a resiliency
that amazes scholars of Africa and the African
Diaspora to this day. African religions, such as
that of the Yoruba, and the Kongo peoples,
underwent an intense process of syncretization.
That process brought about the modern-day
religions of santeria and palo mayombe,
respectively.
The situation was no different when it
came to forms of traditional unarmed combat.
Some scholars argue that these martial arts were
traditional dances in which combative elements
predominated, others see the dance element as a
necessary incident of syncretization. In other
words, these martial arts had to be disguised as
dances in order for them to survive. Robert
Farris Thompson, a professor of art history at
Yale University, and a scholar of African culture
in the Diaspora, quotes two individuals, one, a
scholar from continental Africa and the other,
one of the greatest masters of Afro-Brazilian
copoeira, on the issue:
[M]ost of these moves originated in
friendly sparring. "In Kongo, to fight
against your peers in the village is bad
form," said [Dr. Fu-Kiau] Bunseki. "We
came to play, not fight." Joao Pequerio,
one of the leading teachers of capoeira in
Bahia today, drove the point home:
"When the Africans did copoeira, ginga
[the characteristic swaying motion of
capoeira players, or capoeiristas] was a
form of dance . . . In Brazil it turned into
a fight."
While a detailed exploration of capoeira
itself is beyond the scope of this article, the
reader will find a sizeable (and growing) body of
literature on the subject. For now, suffice it to
say that the martial arts of the African Diaspora
are not limited to those found in Brazil, many
others exist, but there is a keenly felt lack of
research regarding these. Most of the
information comes from first-hand accounts and
is anecdotal in nature.
From Venezuela, specifically the Curiepe
region, comes the art of broma. Dr. Thompson
interviewed a native from the region and asked
him to demonstrate some moves. What he saw
was a combination of feints and dance steps
culminating in a spinning back kick (in capoeira
called an armada). The move is also
characteristic of many Chinese martial arts as
well. The broma was accompanied by the
playing of drums. In Haiti there is a form of
wrestling, noted by journalist C. David Dawson,
called pingue. The island of Martinique is home
to a martial dance called ladja (or l'agya), which
was documented by the celebrated AfricanAmerican ethnologist Katherine Dunham (under
the pseudonym of Kaye Dunn). Curiously, the
ladja was characterized by spinning kicks
identical to the Brazilian armada. Trinidad is
known for its stick-fighters, who do the kalinda,
described as "both a dance and a combat" by
Errol Hill. The kalinda is a common part of the
gaudy and flamboyant carnival for which the
island is famous. In Cuba we have mani (also
called bombosa, according to Dr. Thompson),
which was documented by both Argeliers Leon
and Fernando Ortiz. The former described it as
[A] fight-dance in which a man, in the
center of a tight circle of men, moving to
the beat of the yuka drums and the
singing, was supposed to attack, in a
prescribed set of stinging punches, one of
the men in the ring. The latter was
supposed to counter these attacks with a
prescribed number of blocks and evasive
movements from his position in the circle
without stopping his dance motion.
This description is arguably identical to
that of modern-day uprock, which the Puerto
Ricans in New York City pioneered.
Giiiro y Maraca
6
Uprock was martial posing. Uprock
meant battle mime. It was danced
combat, a fight with steps instead of fists.
One basic sequence was: hop, step,
lunge. Or the hands were used as if they
were a knife in a form of uprock known
as zipping, witnessed by a historian of
breakdancing, Sally Sommer.
Thompson acknowledges the contribution that
Puerto Ricans made to the urban art form,
drawing on their own bomba y plena. They
added not only the "fast-stepping entry pattern,"
but "head spins, windmills and helicopters," in
addition to the "1990" — a one-armed handstand
/ spinning motion (also found in capoeira). We
might also note that, unsurprisingly, the great
breakdancing explosion in New York City
during the late 70's coincided with the arrival of
two capoeiristas from Brazil — Jelon Vieira and
Leremil Machado — whose names would become
synonymous with the martial dance of capoeira
in that town for years to come.
Finally, what can we add about the
bomba dance called cocobale in Puerto Rico?
Despite my exposure to numerous dance and
martial arts forms from various countries I only
recently learned of the connections I raise herein
to the island of Puerto Rico in conversations I
had with Roberto Cepeda and Juan Cartagena.
It was through these contacts that I learned of
the cocobale dance in bomba where the male
dancers challenged each other with sticks. The
Puerto Rican ethnomusicologist, Emanuel
Dufrasne, described cocobale as a dance
performed with sticks that he was able to
document in the areas of Toa Baja, Toa Alta,
Dorado, and perhaps, Catafio, in Puerto Rico.
Admittedly, he recognized that this art form was
an enigma. In a demonstration by Roberto
Cepeda of some of the moves in the dance
cocobale I was able to discern a number of
features. The entry by the performer into the
dance area, his exit, his initial attack, and other
generalized movements approximate the patterns
prevalent in the stick-based, art forms of other
countries. Tangentially, I would think that the
following observation may instill further
discussion and research into this fascinating
subject: it stems from the written work of Don
Rafael Cepeda. His composition No Le De En
El Suelo contains a line which, roughly
translated, states: "He strikes you with his feet
and a head-butt." Practitioners of Africanbased, martial arts, particularly capoeira, may
recognize a link here between the description of
the combat in this song, with the combative
nature of cocobale, and with the other art forms
discussed herein. In capoeira, kicks and headbutts are utilized within the African tradition.
Indeed, a Brazilian saying can sum up the interconnections between the Americas and the
African continent in this regard: "Your hands are
made to create, your feet are made to destroy."
Cocobale Demonstration (E. Torres and F. Valcarcel )
Una Introduccion a las "Artes
Marciales- Afro-Caribetias
Por Francisco Valcarcel
Cuando la mayoria de nosotros
escuchamos el termino "artes marciales enseguida pensamos en alguien como Bruce Lee
repartiendo patadas y putios contra una Banda de
villanos con inigualable destreza y rapidez (o,
como le gusta decir el excampeOn mundial Jose
7
Chegui. Torres, -dandoles como bacalao en
Semana Santa"). Sin embargo, muchos estarian
sorprendidos ante el hecho de que el Lejano
Oriento no es la tInica parte del mundo que ha
desarrollado sofisticadas formas de defensa
personal o combate sin armas. Y somos muy
pocos los que sabemos que el verdadero origen
de las artes marciales no yace en el Lejano
Oriente, sino dentro del continente Africano — en
el antiguo Egipto, para ser exacto.
-
La llamada Lucho Greco-Romana (de la
cual se derivan dos formas de competencia
olimpicas modernas, la Greco y la "freestyle")
encuentra sus origines dentro de las tumbas de
los faraones del antiguo Egipto. La tumba de
Beni Hasan, por ejemplo, contiene un mural que
ilustra un sinfin de ataques y defensas de
combate sin armas. Posiblemente esta es la
evidencia de un tecnicismo marcial altamente
desarrollado entre los seres humans mas
antigua que existe. Aunque -la lucha nunca se
convirtiO en el deporte favorito de los faraones,
el fenomeno de autodefensa sin armas no se
limita al Valle de Nilo. Hacia el sur (aunque
probablemente no se haya desarrollado
contemporaneamente) la tribu de los Nuba tenia
su propia forma de lucha, que aun es practicada
hoy en dia. Mas al sur todavia el pueblo Zulu
tiene un estilo bien desarrollado de pelea con
palos, el Zulu impe. Y, a colacion con nuestro
tema, los Kongo de la parte sud-oeste de Africa
tenian un baile llamado el n'golo, el cual se alega
es la raiz del arte marcial brasilero capoeira, que
tanta popularidad ha cobrado en nuestros dias.
Como resultado de las incursions
esclavistas europeas dentro de Africa, muchos
pueblos fueron devastados y muchisimas mas
personas perdieron sus vidas y sus hogares, al
ser portados a traves del Oceano Atlantico hacia
las Americas. Sin embargo, un gran numero de
tradiciones africanas sobreviviO la manera en que
estas se han adaptado es sorprendente, aun para
estudiosos dentro de este campo. Religiones
Giiiro y Maraca
africanas, como las de los Yoruba y los Kongo,
sostuvieron un proceso de sincretizaciOn o
adaptacion intenso. Este proceso forjo las
religions que hoy conocemos coma la santeria
y el palo mayombe.
Esta situacion es comparable a la de las
formas de combate africanas tradicionales.
Algunos investigadores argumentan que estas
artes marciales eran bailes tradicionales en los
cuales el elemento de combate era predominante,
mientras otros opinan que el elemento del baile
fue ariadido por necesidad de sincretizacion. Es
decir, estas formas de combate tradicionales
tenian que ser disfra7adas como baile para poder
sobrevivir. El profesor Robert Farris Thompson,
de la universidad de Yale, y un estudioso de la
cultura africana en la Diaspora, cita a dos
individuos — uno un academic() de origen
africano y el otro uno de los mas grandes
maestros de capoeira — respecto a este tema:
La mayoria de estos movimientos se
originaron en el fogueo amistoso. -En Kongo,
pelear con tus iguales en la villa esta mal hecho,"
dijo el Dr. Fu-Kiau Bunseki. -Venimos a jugar,
no pelear. - Joao Pequerio uno de los principales
maestros de capoeira en Bahia hoy dia, aclaro
algo al respecto: "Cuando los africanos hacian
capoeira, la ginga "[el movimiento caracteristico
de los jugadores de capoeira o capoeiristas] era
una forma de baile... En Brasil se convirtio en
una pelea. Mientras que una discusion en
detalle sobre la capoeira por si sola no es posible
en estas breves paginas, el estimado lector
encontrard que hay una cantidad razonable de
literatura sobre esta, que aun esta creciendo.
Por ahora, basta decir que las artes marciales de
la Diaspora africana no se limitan a aquellas
dentro de Brasil. Muchas mas existen, pero
existe una grave falte de investigaciOn y
documentacion sobre estas. La mayoria de
informacion acerca de estas otras artes proviene
8
de anecdotas o testimonio de aquellos quienes
las han presenciado.
De Venezuela, y la region de
Curiepe en particular, proviene la broma. El
doctor Thompson entrevisto un habitante de la
region y le pidio que demostrara algunos pasos.
Lo que aquel vio fue una combinacion de fecas
("feints" en ingles) y pasos de baile culminando
en una patada giratoria (o "spinning back kick"),
la cual en capoeira se conoce como armada.
Esta movida es muy utilizada dentro de las artes
marciales chinas tambien. La broma, al
contrario estaba acompailada por el ritmo de los
tambores. El periodista C. Daniel Dawson
menciona una forma de lucha en Haiti llamada
piny:ie. La isla de Martinica es el hogar para un
baile de pelea llamado ladja (o l'agya), el cual
fue documentado muchos afios atras por el
celebre etnologa Katherine Dunham (bajo el
seudonimo de Kaye Dunn). Curiosamente, la
ladja esta basada en patadas circulares identicas
a la armada brasilera. Trinidad es conocida por
sus peleadores con palos, que hacen el kalinda,
descrito como "un baile y un combate" por Errol
Hill. En Cuba existia el mani (o bombosa), el
cual es mencionado por Argeliers Leon y
Fernando Ortiz. Leon lo describe como
Un baile-pelea en el cual un hombre, en
el centro de un circulo apretado de hombres, al
compas de los tambores yuka y cantos, se
supone que ataque, con una serie de golpes
prescritos a uno de los hombres dentro del
circulo. Este se supone que contraatacara con
ciertos bloqueos y movimientos evasivos desde
su posicion en el circulo sin parar de bailar.
Sevin Emanuel Dufrasne, el cocobale
era una cosa de palos, - y este sugiere que
"surge de las areas de Toa Alta, Toa Baja,
Dorado y quizeis, Catano, - aunque admite "que
es un enigma. -
Guiro y Maraca
Esta descripciOn se asemeja al
baile moderno de uprock, en el cual
puertorriquefios dentro de Nueva York fueron
pioneros.
Uprock significaba aparentar pelear.
Uprock significaba una batalla en mimica. Era
un combate bailado, una pelea con pasos en vez
de puflos. Una secuencia basica era: salta, anda
y tira. 0 las manos eran usadas como si fueran
una cuchilla dentro de una forma de uprock
conocida como -zipping, - vista por una
historiadora del breakdancing, Sally Sommer.
Thompson reconoce la contribucion que
los puertorriqueflos han hecho al arte urbano [de
breakdancing], utilizando su propia bomba y
plena. No solo afiadieron un patron de entrada
al baile de pasos rapidos, - sino que tambien
incluyeron movidas como "headspins, windmills
y helicopters" en adicion al "1990" (o sostener el
cuerpo en el aire con un solo brazo, dicho
movimiento tambien se encuentra en la
capoeira). Cabe mencionar tambien que, y esto
no nos debe sorprender, el auge del
breakdancing en Nueva York en la ultima parte
de los atios 70 coincidio con la llegada de los
capoeiristas de Brasil Jelon Vieira y Loremil
Machado, cuyos nombres se harian sinonimo del
capoeira en esta urbe al transcurso de unos
anos.
Finalmente, ague hay del
cocobale en Puerto Rico? A pesar de conocer
muchisimas artes de otros paises, no fue hasta
que tuve una serie de conversaciones con Juan
Cartagena y Roberto Cepeda que me entere de
esta bomba, en el cual los bailadores utilizan
palos para desafiarse uno al otro. Segim
Emanuel Dufrasne, el cocobale "era una cosa de
Palos," y este sugiere que "surge de las areas de
Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Dorado y quizas,
aunque admite "que es un enigma." Roberto
Cepeda tuvo la gentileza de mostrarme
brevemente algunos movimientos del cocobale,
y por lo que pude ver, los patrones de
9
movimiento, entrada, salida, y ataque se
asemejan a los otros artes que utilizan un palo
Como nota al calce, y quiz& para instar a los
comparieros y comparieras dentro de la bomba,
que sigan investigando, me gustaria serialar algo
acerca de la bomba yuba -No le de en el Suelo."
En una Don Rafael Cepeda canta: -Te da con
las patas y una cabeza. - Para aquellos que
conocen de las artes marciales africanas, en
especial la capoeira, esta es una clave no tan
sutil que nos insta a investiga posibles
conexiones entre las formas de combate aqui
descritas. En capoeira, se utilizan las patadas y
golpes con la cabeza exclusivamente ya que en la
tradiciOn africana (como esta se ha difundido en
Brasil), "las manos son para crear y los pies para
destruir."
SOURCES for Valcarcel: Almeida,
Bira (aka Mestre Acordeon), "Capoeira — An
Afro-Brazilian Art Form;" Capoeira, Nestor
"The Little Capoeira Book;" Cepeda, Rafael,
recording "El Roble Mayor;" Hill, Errol,
"Canboulay: A Ritual Beginning;" Iyi, Kilindi,
"African Roots in Asian Martial Arts;" Keelyi,
Liam, "Zulu Stick Fighting — Weapons and
Training;" Lewis, J. Lowell, "Ring of
Liberation;" Lopez Cruz, Francisco, "La Musica
Folklorica de Puerto Rico;" Olivova, Vera,
"Sports and Games in Ancient World;"
Poliakoff, Michael, "Combat Sports in the
Ancient World;" Thompson, Robart Farris,
"Tough Guys Do Dance," "Flash of the Spirit,"
"Black Martial Arts of the Caribbean," "Hip Hop
101;" Interviews: Juan Cartagena, Roberto
Cepeda, Emanuel Dufrasne (by Juan Cartagena,
October 1999).
Giiiro y Maraca
"Cocobale" African Martial Arts in
Bomba
by Carlos "Tato" Torres
Bomba is one of the oldest musical
traditions in Puerto Rico. Its origins extend
throughout the entire coastal region of the
island. Bomba finds its roots in 16th century
African music brought to the Caribbean. It
developed out of the African experience within
colonial life in Puerto Rico at the end of the
17th century, and remains as the island's
maximum expression of its African heritage. It
is presently composed of variations of rhythms
played on goat-skinned drums, improvised
dancing and the call and response singing
characteristic of Afro-Caribbean music.
Common Afro-Caribbean traditions like the
bambule (bambuld, bamboula, bambulue, etc.)
and the calinda (calinde, kalinda, etc.) evolved
with various rhythms into what is today known
as bomba in Puerto Rico, but with similar
expressions in all of the Caribbean.
The cocobale was a "now obsolete
bomba dance" registered by folklorists Nydia
Aleida Rios and Francisco Lopez Cruz.
According to Rios, it was performed in the form
of a duel: -The weapons, which are the cua,
forming a cross in the middle of the dance floor
(tablero o soberao) and around these, the
contenders dance; the one who advances to take
the stick on top, attacks, the other cua serves as
defense to the rival." The term cocobale
supposedly derives from cuculambe, a word
relatively unknown today in Puerto Rico, which
was used in the past by non-practitioners to
describe, in a negative fashion "any dance of
Blacks." Somehow the name eventually became
associated only with the ritualized stick fight, or
"game" accompanied by drumming. This means
that the proper term or name for the tradition, as
it was practiced in Puerto Rico, was probably
not cocobale. The available descriptions suggest
10
a close relationship to various similar traditions
of African origin found throughout the
Americas.
Combat or warrior dances like variations
of the calinda or kalinda, capoeria and the
danza del mani, are a common element within
many communities of African descent in the
Americas. The terms, kalinda, calinda or
calinde, which refer to an old bomba dance, link
the Afro-Puerto Rican tradition to other AfroCaribbean expressions. In Cuba, a "dance of
Negroes (baile de negros) in the African style'
was known as calinda, varying with the term
caringa or calinga. In the past, the Blacks of
the Rio de la Plata, Brazil danced the calenda,
as well as the Blacks of the French colonies
where it was observed by Father Jean-Baptiste
Labat at the end of the 17 th century and the
beginning of the 18 th with the name of calenda
and described as a group dance of erotic nature,
which was performed to the beat of drums and
chants. Father Labat also talks of how the dance
was brought to the Spanish Americas, where the
Criollos learned to dance it and that it was
commonly danced even in churches and religious
processions. Andre-Pierre Ledru observes this
type of dance in Puerto Rico in 1798 and
documents its name as calenda in his original
French text. Today the most common term used
in Puerto Rico to refer to this dance of the past
is calinda.
According to reports from Father Labat,
the term calinda probably derived from a dance
from the ancient Dahomeyan Kingdom of
Ardrah, in the coast of Guinea. . . .
The kalinda, was a highlight of
Caribbean slave festivals, although often viewed
ambivalently by Europeans. A name long
associated with a Caribbean dance at some point
practiced throughout most of the islands, the
kalinda or calinda also referred to a ritualized
fight, or "game" accompanied by drumming.
Giiiro y Maraca
This combat or warrior dance roughly similar to
Brazilian capoeira and reminiscent of what in
Puerto Rico came to be known as cocobale,
performed with sticks and simulating clashes
between opposing groups and exclusively
practiced by men. The combatants attacked one
another with staves of about two and a half feet
long
There were massive Afro-Caribbean
migrations following the Real Cedula de
Gracias of 1815 (Royal Decree of Graces)
which provided refuge for colonos (settlers) as
well as slaves who escaped persecution in such
islands as Martinica, Hispariola (San Domingue)
as well as New Orleans. This policy also
provided a fifteen-year grace period to bring
slaves from other islands and permitted the
inhabitants of Puerto Rico to acquire slaves from
friendly or neutral colonies. As a result of the
agricultural reforms listed in the Real Cedula de
Gracias, slave labor was further encouraged to
attract new settlers. Under this policy numerous
slaves proceeding from French colonies in the
Caribbean were brought to the island.
The calinda represents part of the strong
Haitian and French-Caribbean influences found
in contemporary bomba. These arrived with
Haitians brought as slaves from the island of
Hispaliola (Haiti / Dominican Republic). The
first of these were brought to Puerto Rico after
the transfer of the eastern part of the island from
Spain to France and the second wave after the
Haitian liberation of the colony, especially after
the African slaves of this nation (San Domingue)
liberated themselves from the French colonial
yoke in 1804. Numerous slaves were brought to
Puerto Rico by French and Spanish planters who
sought refuge in the island. Many of these
settled first in New Orleans, later relocating to
Puerto Rico. During the 19 th century, black
slaves of French Afro-Caribbean culture were
brought to Puerto Rico from Louisiana and the
Lesser French Antilles by the many colonial
settlers (colonos) who were able to settle in the
11
island under the refuge and protection of the
Real Cedula de Gracia of 1815.
This dance was probably known
throughout Puerto Rico with a diversity of
pronunciations and variations. Some of these
included the names candungue or candungo,
which probably resulted fron the free phonetic
transformation of the African term camdombe.
According to reports collected by Manuel
Alvarez Nazario from "very old Negroes" from
the western part of the island, the term
candombe was used in the past as a "cry" or
chant made when the drums began to sound to
indicate the start of the bomba dance (baile de
bomba). The term was also used in the past as
the blacks of Rio de la Plata and still today in
Brazil as candomble, to describe dances and
celebrations of African origin, deriving from the
African word candombe in the Fon language.
There is also a possibility that the term
candungue derives, by natural association, from
the Congo tern ndunga, which refers to a type of
drum.
Combat or warrior dances like
variations of the calinda or kalinda,
capoeria and the danza del mani, are a
common element within many
communities of African descent in the
Americas.
John Storm Roberts discusses the midnineteenth century presence of capoeira de
Angola, a Brazilian form of musical martial art,
which was practiced by young men, often from
Central Africa. Capoeira uses birimbaos
`musical bows' (which are percussive string
instruments) and drums to set a tempo for the
movements of two dancers who combat each
other in a highly ritualized and graceful
manner.
Giiiro y Maraca
A martial art/dance form known as
maculele, existed alongside capoeira in Bahia.
In it, two dancers used sticks called grimas as
both musical instruments an as weapons against
each other. Maculele is a traditional AfroBrazilian dance developed by enslaved Africans
who worked in the sugar cane plantations in
Brazil. This dramatic dance is performed with
sticks and machetes. A group of men hit two
sticks against each other to the beat of the
drums, its basic movements imitate the gestures
of chopping sugar cane. The dance is performed
in a ritual circle called the coda. The wood of the
sticks must be hard and shock resistant. Two
players at a time dance together in the center of
circle, while the other participants keep the
rhythm by hitting their sticks or machetes
together and taking turns leading the song.
Despite its obviously of African origins,
maculae's original characteristics are unknown.
All that is known about maculae comes from
oral histories. There is no written trace of the
way it was originally performed. Small snake,
goat or calfskin drums, locally produced were
once used for maculae. Today, three atabaques
(Brazilian drums) have replaced these drums.
The ganza, agogo and sometimes pandeiros, and
often a twelve-string guitar also accompany
them while the participants sing in a mixture of
Portuguese and African. The sustaining
instruments are the mete or the xique xique and
the grimas (sticks), sometimes replaced by
machete. Maculele declined after the Brazilian
abolition of slavery in 1888. . . .
The baton and machete-twirling
techniques of ra-ra in Haiti (ga-gci in
Dominican Republic and Cuba), can also be
placed as part of this complex system of
musical, social, religious, and military
traditions. Ra-ra is a ritual celebration
associated with Easter, when ounfos (vodou
temples) dispatch bands of musicians and
dancers and servitors organized in a quasi-
12
military style to rove the city streets and rural
roads. The avant-guard of the ra-ra band
includes two or more majo jonks, who perform
ritual maneuvers with their jonks (batons) or
machetes. Ra-ra bands, each headed by a malt
rara, usually the oungan (priest) roam the
streets. If they encounter rival groups, a
ritualized challenge and competition in song
and dance takes place. Tensions can often
escalate to a fight, in which the batons and
machetes might turn into weapons.
My grandfather, Paco Sciez, as well as
other elders of my community of Guayanilla,
often speaks of the lost martial art of pelear al
palo 'to fight with a stick'. He describes his
father's (Don Julio Saez) training lessons as
involving not only the use of a stave
"beautifully carved out of ausubo" (an
extremely hard wood), but also the
incorporation of twists, tumbles, flips, and kicks.
My grandfather and his brothers all received
basic instruction on the art at an early age, but
all gave it up and describe it as being "too
painful to learn". They mention the fact that
despite being small men, his father and uncles
had the ability to break up brawls singlehandedly. The staves or canes were also
symbols of authority.
In the Canary Islands, a martial arts
tradition known as juego de palo (game of
palo**), which also uses sticks as weapons is still
practiced today. Numerous immigrants from
these islands came to settle in Puerto Rico in the
past. Although the Canary Islands are provinces
of Spain, they are geographically closer to the
African continent. We have to investigate this
matter further, but an African origin would not
be surprising at all.
-
A similar practice found in the Americas
includes the tradition of "knocking and kicking"
found in the southern United States. In 1733, a
Giiiro y Maraca
notice in the South Carolina Gazette
demonstrates one way in which African
Americans adapted Kongo/Angolan culture in
the Americas under the constraints of slavery.
The notice offered a £10 reward for the return
of Thomas Butler, a runaway slave who was
known in the area as "the famous pushing and
dancing Master." . . .
We should keep in mind that the
competitive aspects of most of these traditions,
as they have been expressed in the Americas,
are not limited to the combat dance. The singing
is often also a means of competition and also
develops into challenges and duels. Singers
improvise lyrics to verbally attack and respond
to each other.
The common presence of various similar
combat or warrior dances of clear African
origin throughout all of the Americas suggests
that these traditions were probably also
common in Puerto Rico. The misnamed
tradition of cocobaM, like all other bomba
dances, probably expressed distinct forms
throughout the island. The "cocobale",
according to the available literary and oral
descriptions, was probably a Puerto Rican
interpretation of this common African, AfroAmerican and Afro-Caribbean tradition.
"Cocobale": artes marciales africanas
en la bomba
Por Carlos "Tato" Torres
La bomba es una de las tradiciones musicales
Inas antiguas de Puerto Rico. Sus origenes se
extienden por todas las regions costeras de la
isla y tiene sus raices en la musica africana
llevada al Caribe a traves de la esclavitud. Se
desarrolla en la experiencia africana dentro de la
vida colonial en Puerto Rico a finales del siglo
17, y perdura aun como la maxima expresion de
13
nuestra herencia africana sin excluir elementos
indigenas, europeos e inter-caribefios.
La bomba se compone de una variaciOn de
ritmos ejecutados en tambores con cuero de
chivo, el baile improvisado, y el canto de llamada
y respuesta caracteristico de la miisica afrocaribetia. Tradiciones afro-caribefias comunes
como el bambule (bambuld, bambouled,
bambulae, etc.) y el calinda (calinde, kalinda,
etc.) se desarrollaron con varios otros ritmos en
lo que hoy se conoce como la bomba en Puerto
Rico, pero con expresiones comunes en todo el
Caribe.
El termino kalinda, calinda, o calinde,
que se refiere a un baile de bomba
antiguo, enlaza la tradicion afropuertorriquefia a otras expresiones afrocaribenas.
El cocobale era el supuesto nombre de un
antiguo baile de bomba registrado por los
folkloristas Nydia Aleida Rios y Francisco Lopez
Cruz. Segfin Rios, era ejecutado en forma de un
duelo: "Las armas, que son los cua, forman una
cruz en medio del tablero o soberao y alrededor
de las mismas los contendientes bailan; quien
avance a tomar el palillo de encima, ataca; el
otro cua sirve de defensa al rival." La palabra
cocobale supuestamente se deriva de
"cucalambe", palabra practicamente desconocida
hoy dia en Puerto Rico, que se usaba por
personas fuera del circulo de practicantes para
describir y despreciar cualquier "baile de negros"
(Alvarez Nazario, 1974).
De alguna manera la palabra cocobale ha sido
asociada exclusivamente al duelo o juego de
palos acompafiado por tambores. Esto sugiere
que el verdadero nombre de la tradicion, segiin
era practicada en Puerto Rico, probablemente no
era "cocobale." Las descripciones disponibles
Giiiro y Maraca
sugieren una cercana relacion con varias
tradiciones similares de procedencia africana
encontradas a traves de las Americas.
Bailes de combate o guen-eros como variaciones
del calinda o kalinda, el capoeira, y la danza del
mani, son un elemento comun dentro de muchas
comunidades de descendencia africana en las
Americas. El termino kalinda, calinda, o calinde,
que se refiere a un baile de bomba antiguo,
enlaza la tradiciOn afro-puertorriquefia a otras
expresiones afro-caribefias.
En Cuba, el calinda era un "baile de negros"
tambien llamado caringa o calinga. En el pasado
los negros de Rio de la Plata en Brasil bailaban el
calenda, al igual que los negros de las colonias
francesas, donde fue observado por el Padre
Jean-Baptiste Labat a finales del siglo 17 y el
principio del siglo 18. El Padre Labat describio
el calinda como un baile
erotico, ejecutado al compas de tambores y
cantos. Labat tambien hablo de como el baile fue
traido a las colonias espanolas, donde los criollos
aprendieron a bailarlo y se practicaba
comimmente en las iglesias y procesiones
religiosas. En el 1798 el mismo baile fue
documentado en Puerto Rico por Andre-Pierre
Ledru. Hoy dia en Puerto Rico, la palabra mas
usada para identificar este antiguo baile es
calinda.
Segun el Padre Labat, la palabra calinda
proviene del nombre de un baile del rein
Dahomeyano de Adrah en la costa de Guinea en
Africa.
El calinda fue la gran atraccion en los festivales
de esclavos caribefios, aunque los europeos de
esos tiempos lo vieron en forma ambivalente.
Calinda fue el nombre que desde el principio fue
asociado con el baile caribeiio que en algun
momento fue practicado por todas las islas. Este
baile era tambien una pelea ritualizada o "juego",
acompariado por tambores. El calinda era un
14
baile de combate o guerrero parecido al capoeira
brasilefro y al baile que se identifico en Puerto
Rico como cocobale, ejecutado con palos y
simulando combates entre grupos opuestos. Los
combatientes se atacaban con palos de alrededor
de dos pies y medio.
La otorgacion de la Real Cedula de Gracias en
1815 tuvo como resultado emigraciones afrocariberias masivas. Esta le proveia refugio tanto
a colonos como a esclavos que se escapaban de
islas como Martinica, La Espanola y Curacao.
Tambien proveia un periodo de 15 afros para
traer esclavos de otras islas y le permitia a los
habitantes de Puerto Rico traer esclavos de
colonias espanolas o neutrales. Como resultado
de las reformas agricolas de la Real Cedula de
Gracias se promovio aun mas el uso de esclavos
para atraer nuevos colonos. Durante este
tiempo, numerosos esclavos de las colonias
francesas en el Caribe fueron traidos a Puerto
Rico.
El calinda representa parte de las fuertes
influencias haitianas y afro-cariberias que se
encuentran en la bomba contemporanea. Estas
llegaron con haitianos traidos de la isla de La
Espariola (Haiti / Republica Dominicana). Los
primeros llegaron a Puerto Rico luego que
Espana cediera la parte este de La Espanola
(Republica Dominicana) a Francia y la segunda
ola llego luego de que los esclavos africanos de
esta nacion se liberaran del yugo colonial frances
en el 1804.
Durante el siglo 19, esclavos negros de una
cultura franco-afro-caribena fueron traidos a
Puerto Rico desde Louisiana y las Antillas
Menores por colonos, quienes se refugiaron en
la isla bajo la Real Cedula de Gracias. Los
agricultores franceses y esparioles quienes se
refugiaron en la isla trajeron muchisimos
esclavos a Puerto Rico. Muchos de estos se
establecieron primero en Nueva Orleans y luego
se trasladaron a Puerto Rico.
Giiiro y Maraca
El nombre "calinda" probablemente se conocio
en Puerto Rico con una diversidad de
pronunciaciones y variaciones. Algunas de estas
incluyen los terminos "candungue" o
"candungo", los cuales probablemente fueron
resultado de la transformacion fonetica del
termino africano "candombe" en el idioma Fon.
Tambien existe la posibilidad de que
"candungue" se derive de la palabra congo
"ndunga" la cual se refiere a un tipo de tambor.
Segiin testimonios de "negros muy viejos"
recopilados por Alvarez Nazario, en la parte
oeste de la isla el termino "candombe" se uso en
el pasado como un grito o canto emitido cuando
los tambores repicaban para indicar el comienzo
del baile de bomba. La
palabra tambien se uso en el pasado por los
negros de Rio de la Plata y todavia hoy en el
Brasil se usa como "candomble" para describir
bailes y celebraciones de origen africano
derivados de la palabra africana "candombe".
John Storm Roberts habla de la presencia a
mitad del siglo 19 de el capoeira de Angola, una
forma musical de artes marciales la cual era
practicada por hombres jovenes, usualmente del
Africa Central. En el capoeira se usa el birimbao,
un arco musical, y los tambores, para mantener
un compas sobre el cual ejecutan sus
movimientos los bailadores, quienes combaten
entre si de una manera altamente ritualizada.
Ademas de el capoeira, existia en Bahia un tipo
de arte marcial / baile conocido como maculele.
En el, dos bailadores usaban palos llamados
grimas como armas y a la vez como
instrumentos musicales. Maculele es un baile
tradicional afro-brasilerio que desarrollaron los
esclavos africanos que trabajaban en las
plantaciones de calla en Brasil. Este dramatic°
baile se realiza con palos o machetes. Un grupo
de hombres golpea dos palos, uno contra otro, al
compas de los tambores. Los movimientos
basicos imitan el
15
corte de caria. Este baile se lleva a cabo en un
circulo ritual llamado "roda" (pronunciado
"joda"). Dos combatientes bailan en el centro del
circulo mientras que los otros mantienen el ritmo
de la musica con sus palos o machetes y
tomando turnos para cantar.
A pesar de sus obvios origenes africanos, las
caracteristicas originales del
maculele no se conocen con certeza. Todo lo
que se conoce del maculele
proviene de historias orales. Anteriormente se
usaban unos pequenos tambores
cubiertos con cuero de serpiente, chivo o
ternera, los cuales eran producidos
localmente. Hoy, tres atabaques han
reemplando estos tambores. La ganza, el
agogo, pandeiros, y, algunas veces, una guitarra
de doce cuerdas, acompanan a
los participantes quienes cantan en una mezcla
de portugues e idiomas
africanos. La practica del maculele disminuyo
mucho despues de la abolicion
de la esclavitud en 1888. . . .
Las tecnicas de manipular la batuta y el machete
en el ra-ra haitiano (ga-ga en Republica
Dominicana y Cuba) tambien se pueden incluir
como parte de este complejo sistema de
tradiciones musicales, sociales, religiosas y
militares. El ra-ra es una celebracion o ritual
asociada con la cuaresma, cuando los ounfos
(templos de vodou) despachan grupos de
musicos y bailadores organizados en un estilo
cuasi-militar para recorrer las calles y los
caminos rurales. La vanguardia del grupo de rara incluye dos o mas majo jonks, quienes
ejecutan maniobras rituales con sus jonks
(batutas) o machetes. Las bandas de ra-ra estan
encabazada por un mait ra-ra, quien usualmente
es el oungan (sacerdote). Estas recorren las
calles y si se encuentran con un grupo rival,
llevan a cabo una competencia ritualizada de
canto y baile. Estos encuentros pueden tornarse
Gifiro y Maraca
violentos. En estos casos, las batutas y los
machetes pueden convertirse en armas.
Mi abuelo, Paco Saez, al igual que otros
mayores de mi comunidad de Guayanilla, Puerto
Rico, hablan mucho de la ya perdida tradicion de
"pelear al palo". Mi abuelo cuenta como su
padre, Don Julio Saez, practicaba el arte
utilizando un bast& elaboradamente tallado de
ausubo, una madera muy dura a la cual "el
machete no le entra". Este arte tambien incluia
saltos, maromas y patadas. Mi abuelo y sus
hermanos todos recibieron instrucciOn basica
desde una temprana edad, pero todos desistieron
describiendolo como "muy duro para aprender".
Mencionan el hecho de que a pesar de ser
hombres de pequeria estatura, su padre y sus tios
tertian la habilidad de meterse en medio de una
violenta pelea y pararla por si solos con el arte
de pelear al palo. Los
bastones tambien servian como simbolos de
autoridad.
En la Islas Canarias se practica una tradicion de
artes marciales conocida como el juego de palo,
en la cual se utilizan palos como arenas.
Numerosos emigrantes de estas islas se
establecieron en Puerto Rico en siglos pasados.
Aunque las Islas Canarias son provincias de
Esparia, estan geograficamente mucho mas
cercanas al continente africano. Esto se tiene que
investigar mas a fondo, pero un origen africano
no seria sorprendente.
Una practica similar de estos bailes de combate
en las Americas incluye la tradicion conocida
como "knocking and kicking" (tumbar y patear)
que se encuentra en el sur de los Estados
Unidos. En el 1733, un anuncio en el South
Carolina Gazette demuestra una manera en la
cual los afroamericanos adaptaron la cultura
Congo /Angola en los Estados Unidos. El
anuncio ofrecia una recompensa de 10 libras por
la devolucion de Thomas Butler, un esclavo
cimarron quien era conocido en el area como el
16
"famous pushing and dancing master" (famoso
maestro del baile y los empujones).
Debemos mantener en mente que los aspectos
competitivos de la mayoria de estas tradiciones
como se han expresado en las Americas no se
limitan al combate del baile. El canto tambien es
un medio de competencia y toma forma de retos
y duelos. Los cantantes improvisan letras para
atacarse y responderse verbalmente uno a otro.
La presencia comun de varios bailes de combate
similares de claro origen africano a traves de las
Americas sugiere que estas tradiciones eran
tambien comunes en Puerto Rico. El llamado
"cocobale", como todos los demas bailes de
bomba, probablemente tomo una variedad de
formas a traves de la isla. El "cocobale", segun la
literatura disponible y las descripciones orales,
probablemente fue una interpretacion
puertorriquefia de esta tradicion africana,
afroamericana y afro-caribefia.
Sources for Torres: Alvarez Nazario,
Manuel, El Elemento Afronegroide en el
Espanol de Puerto Rico (1974); Labat, JeanBaptiste, Memoires des Noveaux Voyagesfaits
aux Isles Francois de las Ameriques, La Haye,
1734; Ledru, Andre-Pierre, Viaje A La Isla de
Puerto Rico En El Afio De 1797, traducido por
Julio L. Vizcarrondo, (1863); Lopez Cruz,
Francisco, La Musica Folklorica de Puerto Rico,
(1967); Rios, Nydia Aleida, "La Bomba y su
EvoluciOn en Puerto Rico," (Transcript on file
with author).
Giiiro y Maraca
PROFILES
FROM RINCON
CRIOLLO:
JOSE RIVERA.
"WE USED
PLENA TO SAVE
LA CASITA."
This is our third installment of the
profiles of the people who have been
instrumental to maintaining RincOn Criollo as a
mecca of bomba & plena music in the Bronx.
Jose Rivera, an excellent percussionist and
teacher, is well known to many who know our
music. He served as President of the Centro
Cultural Rine& Criollo throughout a critical
time in its development. A frequent member of
the LOS PLENEROS DE LA 21 ensemble, Jose
heads up his own group, AMIGOS DE LA
PLENA that has captured the imagination of
many music fans in the New York area. We
recently caught up with Jose in his workshop
adjacent to the offices of Aurora
Communications in El Barrio and learned quite a
bit of his background and his dedication to the
institution called Rincon Criollo. Jose is a
master at code-switching between English and
Spanish. We've decided to leave it like he gave
it.
Presentamos el tercer de los perfiles de
las personas claves en el mantenimiento del
Rincon Criollo como el centro de la bomba y la
plena en el Bronx. Esta vez nos enfocamos en
el Sr. Jose Rivera, conocido percusionista que
ha sido un miembro regular del grupo LOS
PLENEROS DE LA 21 y que tambien tiene su
propia agrupacion de pleneros, merecedores de
la apreciacion del public°, los AMIGOS DE LA
PLENA. Por un period() delicado Jose sirvio
como Presidente del Rincon Criollo y llego ha
profundizar el labor de la casita y dejar a
17
conocer y documentar el tesoro que es. Jose es
producto de la nacion puertorriquena y por lo
tanto se faja en ingles, espanol o ambos; aqui
decidimos mantener sus comentarios como el lo
presento.
Jose Rivera: Yo naci en Puerto Rico en
la parada 26 y media, barrio Tokio. We lived
across from el Puente Martin Pena. We all lived
on one side of the river but the government
forced us to live on the other side because there
was a dispute with Hato Rey. That town was
called la 26 y media, la barriada Tokio. There
all kinds of people there, you had bootleggers
who had their stills there. I was born there. My
mother's father came from a Spaniard family,
Don Goyo a Puerto Rican — Espailol. My father
era mas negro, de la costa. Mi mama se llama
Paula Castro, y su papa era Goyo Castro, ellos
vendian came y eran matarifes. Mi papa es
Ramon rhin .Rivera, era pescador.
Yo vivi siempre en el Bronx. Casi toda
mi vida en el Bronx. Mucha gente me conocen
del Barrio porque siempre estoy aqui en El
Barrio metio. Mi trademark fue hecho en El
Barrio.
The music didn't start for me until I was
9 years, 8 years old. It was in the curriculum in
the school I went to. They taught us how to
make drums, our own conguitas. That school
was IS 38. One of the teachers played a lot of
Haitian music, a lot of palos and 6/8's and that's
the way I began to play. His was named Baba
Femi. A lot of top musicians were taught by
Baba Femi, he was one of the first Haitian
drummers to come to the schools. And he
taught us black kids and Puerto Rican kids. The
Bronx has a lot to offer.
Later on I start playing. At that time I
really liked Ray Barretto but I also liked the
Monkeys and jazz and rock. My mother gets me
a drum set and I start playing the Beatles. After
Giiiro y Maraca
that I went to Morris High School and started
with modern jazz. Since I didn't do too good in
other classes they gave me 8 periods of music in
a music mini-school. And we did jazz, with Mr.
Brown, Miss Katz, Dennis Lane. They were
pretty good teachers. I was playing different
stuff, started with saxophone, alto sax. Began
first with clarinet. And there were other players
that were better than me. Then I began with
percussion, congas, learning my own drums.
My brother, Papo Chin, started coming
frequently from Puerto Rico to visit my mother.
Papo was a conguero and he would bring drums,
he played with a lot of local groups here in NY
and they would take him to Las Villas.
So my mother decides to send me back
to Puerto Rico when I was 10 or 11, so that I
can learn some of my culture. I went for a long
vacation, several months. Went to live back in
the puentes, with my father. My father was a
known plenero, and fisherman. And he would
always give to the people; when he went fishing
everyone was waiting for him, everybody knew
it. El bajaba de la 22 a la bahia de San Juan,
por alli adentro, and when they came back they
came right through the laguna. Y era
alambiquero tambien. He had a still, el tenia
dos o tres con sus compadres. So by traveling
back and forth I get to stay with my dad. He
started teaching me pandereta, my brother
started teaching me more.
I came back to the Bronx to start school
again, to go to Morris. I start doing bad again,
started with the gangs again. But my mother
still had the store so I started doing less with the
gangs and more with the store. My mother
wouldn't let me hang that much. I though I was
all that, but I really wasn't. So she sends me
back to PR. By that time I dropped out
I was reading music then. Then I got
into this Ray Barretto thing. I played a lot of
18
local stuff Even played with my teacher, Dennis
Lane. I played in El Viejo Santurce, played with
Vitin Aviles, with Sonido Cha. I was playing
conga y bongo. I played with los hermanos Cha,
with La Sonida Siete. We would play congas
and bongos with these groups and they would
check us out. Eddie Montalvo would be one of
these guys. We would play in the Bronx Casino,
the Cerromar Casino. Once I hit 17 years old I
was playing these clubs with groups like Los
Hermanos de Santurce. Even with Ernie Agusto
y La Conspiracion. I wound up coming back to
El Barrio and playing with Pepe Castillo a
couple of times.
Once I came back from Puerto Rico after
learning the pandereta I was really into it. We
started checking out Gene Golden. There was a
botanica with a Cuban guy named Mambo and
in the back, Totico, the rumbero would come
and we would play for a long time right there on
Westchester Ave. and 156 th. As Puerto Rican
drummers we went through a Cuban cycle of
music, of rumba.
Then I went off to the military, at age 17.
In Germany I formed a plena group, se &Imo
Latinos Unidos. We developed a theatrical
thing, playing in the USO and in different places.
We had a lot of Puerto Rican guys in the group.
You see I was a Military Policeman, and so I got
to a lot of places and met the top Puerto Ricans
and others in different places. I took a test and
scored 110 and they didn't have Puerto Ricans in
the whole Military Police so they gave me the
position after they doctored my papers to show
that I was 5 foot 7 when I was really 5 foot 4
without my boots (laughs). For the Latinos
Unidos, I had panderetas sent from Puerto Rico.
I came back to New York and started playing
with the big boys. I played with Atlantic
Records, Luther Vandross was out at that time.
There were 2 Puerto Rican guys with that
company, me and Rafy De Jesus, who played
with the European guys like, Duran Duran and
Guiro y Maraca
people like that. I started playing with a band
called Kleer and we did -Keep Your Body
Working" and "License to Dream." I started
playing with local groups again. I got a chance
to play with Pete El Conde, with Orquesta
Broadway.
Then I got involved with Rincon Criollo.
Back then we played in Chema's club, in the
basement of the place across the street from the
RincOn. We started the RincOn with just one
little bench that went from one tree to another.
From there we would watch the club, there was
nothing around, just abandoned lots. In 1983 we
had La Casita established. They had a small
Batey Borincano. Freddy Perez starts to come
around and having those big Bronx Festivals
which gave us a lot of play too, to play plena.
And Chema would make drums and show us.
And Marcial Reyes Arvelo would come by too,
from the Fania days.
So Pepe Castillo and I start going around
to the schools — this is before Los Pleneros. I
did demonstrations but most of the time it was
performances. I would explain the pandereta.
In 83 I meet Juan Gutierrez at a party at Rincon
Criollo. He had this idea of forming Los
Pleneros de la 21. Juan had also played with
Pepe, along with Edgardo Miranda and Donald
Nicks. All of us were in Pepe's group. Juan and
Tito Cepeda were taking classes with Marcial
down in El Barrio. They were from there and
we were from the Bronx. So Juan started the
group, I kept playing with Pepe. Heny Alvarez's
group breaks up and those musicians, like Paco
Rivera, los hermanos BobO, Eugenia Ramos
todos deciden formar parte de Los Pleneros
because there was a problem with Heny Alvarez,
I don't know what it was. So now you have Los
Pleneros de la 21 and Pepe Castillo y La
Estampa Criolla. And this is where the
musicians of this music from the Bronx and El
Barrio began to meet. And you had pleneros
there who knew Emilio Escobar, like Pablo
19
Gallito Ortiz. And they happened to all know
each other. Add Victor Montanez with his
Pleneros de la 110. And you had the players that
were part of Los Hermanos de Loiza Aldea.
And you know that the drums of that group, the
drums of Carmelo Acosta, were the drums used
by all the folkloric groups at that time. I would
even say that the bomba drums that he brought
from PR to El Barrio were the first ones.
Nobody had drums.
In 84 and 85 I was still with Pepe but
started doing local gigs with Los Pleneros. I
became one of the youngest Pleneros. Half of
Pepe's band goes to Los Pleneros and me too.
In 86 or 87 I stayed steady with the group. Los
Pleneros went on to record like two cassettes
and 3 CDs. And I was on them. Union Boricua
also is around at the time and I record on their
album but my name never comes out on it. That
happened to me again, like in Pepe's new album
now I am the soloist with Papo Pepin, I'm
playing the bomba drums, but I'm not
mentioned. I did another CD with Yomo Toro
for a film. And I'm coming out in another CD
led by Jose Mangual, Jr. where I'm the soloist
with Papo Pepin.
But La Casita at Rincon Criollo played a
major role in this music. It was on the verge of
being taken down by development when I first
started there. I was the President for 4 years,
first was Johnny Colon. When the club across
the street burned our hangout became the corner
of 158 th and Brook Avenue. Naturally we had a
lot of plenas there. And every time the
inspectors would come and close our yard down.
We decide to take on Johnny ColOn and he
would go as a minister from the church and
claim that it was a cultural garden, not a plena
place yet. And he went back to the City to open
the house, Batey Borincano, again. Then the
City would come back and lock it, and we would
open it. And so on. Then we finally joined
Green Thumb. When the other buildings around
Giiiro y Maraca
us started coming down we would take the
bricks and start building other little things at
Rincon Criollo. And again the City would close
it down and again we would open it. So I said,
we need to do something here. So we made an
organization. We documented the house with
the documentary "Plena is Work, Plena is Song."
I was doing documentaries at that time with
Susan Sig. And that's how we started filming it.
At the time the structure of what is now
La Casita was not up, only a smaller version.
Later on we made it 12 by 12, maybe we weren't
supposed to, but we did. We named it Centro
Cultural Rine& Criollo with a focus on the
music. So we aimed the plena so that we could
hold on to Rincon Criollo. And we let the
people from Green Thumb know, hey we're folk
artists, we come from Puerto Rico and we're
entitled to keep this. And it was true. After we
joined Green Thumb more people came to see
our gardens. Then everyone gets into gardens.
So La Casita changed into a folkloric Puerto
Rico scene, the gardens. Then the politicians
started coming by.
So you see we used plena to save La
Casita. And we started throwing parties to
focus on this like SalvaciOn Casita, which was
written up by Juan Flores in his book. So
Rincon Criollo develops. And Freddy Perez
hooks up with the City Council and they start
bringing major people from Puerto Rico,
Bizcocho, Iris Chacon, Tommy Olivencia and all
the big bands would come to the big festivals
that Freddy Perez would give on 156 th and
naturally, the pleneros would be with him
because we were the closest neighborhood
organization to this. So all the artists would get
dressed at Rincon Criollo, by that time people
had seen it in films in Puerto Rico. It was
considered the main place.
Giiiro y Maraca
20
And in the 4 years that I was President we get to
document Rincon Criollo again, this time with
the Smithsonian Museum; because the casitas
were getting in trouble because there were too
many. People were saying they were shacks
where the homeless could sleep. And it was a lie
because we created La Casita because of la
plena. La plena saved La Casita. We knew the
neighborhood and would go to all the businesses
in something we started called La Mula, to let
them know we weren't going anywhere. As
more people learned of us, the Parks Department
builds a park right across the street from us.
And we were happy go lucky. When they
looked around they learned that we were the
ones maintaining the culture — the men and
women from Rincem Criollo.
With the Smithsonian, with the help of
City Lore with Roberta Singer, we built a casita
in D.C. And from there we took it back to New
York. This is what we did in Puerto Rico —
when the people came to take us off the land we
would push the walls and take it down to build it
up somewhere else. We took that casita from
the Smithsonian to the middle of Central Park as
part of the Somos Boricua Festival. After this
we take her to Philadelphia. Finally we gave it
Chocolate, to a building he has on Prospect and
Wales Avenue and Jackson that's the original
casita that was at the Smithsonian.
With this we were able to document La
Casita in film. And that's how we saved it.
REVIEWS
Esta To' Habla'o
GRUPO COHITRE D'EL YUNQUE
Miguel Angel Carrillo Para Grupo Cohitre D'El
Yunque 787.721.4048
This recording has
a natural, downhome feel to it.
All but one of the
tunes consist of
percussion and
guitars and all of
the singing
projects a house
party amid the plenas. The tune El Canario
interpreted by Ramon Carrillo Suarez, is a plena
that has a tight interplay between the cuatro and
the lead voice, along with a nice, neat cuatro
solo. But this tune, along with others like
Carmelina, Con Titi, Camelia and Triguelia
are classic plenas that really swing, the last two
penned by Angel Luis Torruellas. The bottom
line here is that there aren't many bland pieces
on Esta To'Habla'o. Listen to the coro in the
plena, Pancho y Gervasia, recorded over 40
years ago by its composer German Rosario:
Condena'o Toma La Llave, Que A Mi Lo Mismo
Me Da, Condena'o Toma La Llave, Que Yo
Contigo No Vivo Mas! Want more? Then
check out the Antonio Lugo's masterful guiro
on Camelia, the repiques on the bomba drum by
Miguel Angel Carrillo on the bomba Teresa
Calinda, the excellent cuatro work by 19 year
old Christian Nieves on the plena Dr. Williams
and you'll agree that GRUPO COHITRE D'EL
YUNQUE has mastered the tipico feel in this
their first recording. Miguel Angel Carrillo, the
leader of this group, remarks that this project is
the first one in twenty years to record traditional,
folkloric plena in the style of Don Rafael
Cepeda. Now his task is to get it sold. We say
buy it.
d 'f
■
'11a/ila '0"
Off 4
Giiiro y Maraca
21
Hay algo tipico, callejero en esta production.
Algo que viene del balcon, natural y refrescante
en medio de este ambiente moderno del nuevo
siglo. Aqui todos los nameros menos uno, tiene
sencillamente percusion, canto, y tal vez,
cuerdas. Por ejemplo, El Canario, interpretado
por Ramon Carrillo Suarez, es un plena que
goza del reto dinamico entre el cuatro y don
Ramon. Esta, igual que Carmelina, Con Titi,
Camelia y Triguefia representan la plena
dorada de la isla — la que nunca muere — y dos
de estos son de la libreta del gran Angel Luis
Torruellas. Al fin y al cabo ha hay plenas
mongas en esta grabacion. Figensen en el coro
de Pancho y Gervasia, grabada Inas de 40 allos
atras por el compositor German Rosario:
Condena'o Toma La Llave, Que A Mi Lo Mismo
Me Da, Condena'o Toma La Llave, Que Yo
Contigo No Vivo Mas! Quieren Inas? Pues,
figensen en la ejecucion excelente del guiro de
Antonio Lugo en Camelia, los repiques del
subidor de Miguel Angel Carrillo en Teresa
Canna y el talent() en el cuatro del senor de 19
arlos, Christian Nieves en la plena Dr.
Williams. Miguel Angel Carrillo, el lider
GRUPO COHITRE D'EL YUNQUE nos
comenta que este proyecto es el primero en 20
de "un trabajo de plena en forma tradicional."
Ahora le toca venderlo. Pues, basquenlo.
Also includes: Esti To' Habla'o (plena); El
Presentimiento (plena); A Santiago Apostol
(titled "bomba rule" from Loiza); El Yace•
(plena); and El Leon (a plena with a full horn
section, lust to show people that I can do this,
too" says Miguel Angel).
Sonaron Los Panderos
GRUPO ESENCIA PUERTORRIQUESA
Producciones Alfonso Sanabria 787.738.9303
The twotrombone
standard in the
modern-day
Puerto Rican
plena takes hold
of this recording
product by
GRUPO ESENCIA PUERTORRIQUERA. On
this recording that formula works well in the
plena Mariana, helped along with a tight coro,
and sometimes it's predictable as in the title tune
Sonaron Los Panderos. The few other
standouts on this project, few that is, because
the entire recording offers us only seven tunes,
are Homenaje a Mon Rivera a solid medley of
tunes honoring one ofplena's immortal voices
and the very danceable, plena, La Murieca.
Add to this the bomba sica, El Baile de Bomba
Empezo, which has the unlikely pairing of a
guiro to the bomba rhythms and that sums up
this effort.
Also includes: Ismael, Cortijo y Cepeda (plena
with bomba sica bridges); and La Ola (bomba
sica).
Son del Almendro
RUTA TROPICAL
Productor
Ejecutivo: Carlos
Rivera P.O. Box
1123, Luquillo,
PR 00773
In our constant
search for the
best in bomba & plena recording we came
22
across this project by RUTA TROPICAL dated
in 1999 but only recently made available in
places like Casa Latina, the famous, historic
record shop in El Barrio, NY. We weren't able
to confirm the release date but after hearing the
CD we couldn't help but bring it to your
attention. There is a love of the island's natural
beauty, its environment, that shines through in a
number of tunes on this recording. Semilla del
Africa, a bomba yuba / sica traces the history of
the coffee bean and its development in Puerto
Rico with an excellent conga lead by the
virtuoso, Anthony Carrillo. Tinglar is framed in
the oriza rhythm made famous by Rafael Cortijo.
It's a wonderful dedication to the preservation
efforts of environmentalists in Puerto Rico to
save a species of tortoise by the same name.
The tinglar is the symbol / mascot of the brave
men and women of the Cayo La Yayi
encampment in Vieques who have battled the
U.S. Navy for decades. La Buruquena speaks
to nature's way of repaying the persistence of a
fishermen who patiently goes crabbing along the
sea's edge. Performed as a bomba sica it has
nice flute work and another conga lesson by
Anthony Carrillo with a baba bridge to boot. El
Mensaje is the crown, however. A plena
ambiental (environmental plena) with sica
interludes, the song speaks to the duty we all
have to correct the erosion of our land, to
correctly dispose of our waste and to re-learn
the lessons of nature. Quite simply El Mensaje
is a great message. Other notables are El Perro
Navegante a catchy, danceable plena with a
solid lead vocal by Jose Cabrera and an
enjoyable coro; Yubakere a bomba yubd that
really rocks with a lasting melody and vocals by
Kike Febres that elicits comparisons to the late
Frankie Rodriguez style on rumba; and Oriza, a
straight-up oriza which is always a pleasure.
Son Del Almendro is pleasure and a testament to
the skills of band leader, singer and composer
Carlos Rivera.
La busqueda de grabaciones de bomba y plena
Giiiro y Maraca
en el exterior no es nada facil. Y eso que
tenemos acceso a los negocios de la gran urbe
nuevayorkina. Asi mismo encontramos en Casa
Latina en El Barrio esta grabaciOn con fecha de
1999 pero que acaba de llegar recientemente.
Le pedimos disculpas si es que se nos paso el
tren — pero esta grabacion tiene algo para
ofrecer al public° — musica buena y temas
ambientales que muestran el amor a la tierra y el
mar que tiene el Sr. Carlos Rivera, compositor
de todos los nameros. Semilla de Africa, una
bomba yubd / sica nos habla del trasfondo del
café, Tinglar en estilo oriza, nos habla de la
lucha para preservar esta tortuga hermosa e
importante en el sistema ecologic° de Vieques.
Tambien ofrecen La Buruquena, con las manos
calientes de Anthony Carrillo en las congas en
ritmo sica y bata. Y lo mejor to dejaron para to
ultimo, la plena ambiental, El Mensaje que nos
advierte del peligro que existe cuando nos
olvidamos de la delicadeza de nuestro ambiente.
Son Del Almendro es un trabajo solid°.
Agarrenlo.
Also includes: Borinquen (plena); Calypso
Con Plena (plena); and Playa Azul (salsa).
GRUPOS DE BOMBA y PLENA
z,Tienes un grupo de Bomba y Plena? Dejanos
saber para incluirlos en esta seccion.
Despues de recibir comentarios y sugerencias a
menudo, vamos a tratar de documentar nuestros
colegas en la Isla. El attic° criterio es que cada
grupo tiene la capacidad y la disponibilidad de
hacer presentaciones musicales de bomba y / o
plena, en vivo. Ya saben que estamos
disponibles a aliadir grupos tan pronto ustedes
nos llaman. Aqui estan, en orden alfabetico:
If you know of a Bomba and Plena group let us
know. We'll include them in our next issue. We
welcome GRUPO FOLCLOR VIENTO that
plays in the Philadelphia area to the list as well
as LOS PLENEROS DE LA SA LUD from
23
Springfield, Massachusetts and we welcome the
new group that Tito Rodriguez leads in
Chicago, AFRICARIBE. And of course we
welcome our colleagues from Puerto Rico.
AfriCaribe, Tito Rodriquez, Chicago, IL,
773.879.2123
Amigos de la Plena, NYC, Jose y Ramon
Rivera c/o Aurora Communications,
212.410.2999
Jorge Arce y Humano, Jamaica Plains, MA,
Jorge Arce, 617.524.6338
Arena de Playa, Bronx, NY, Miguel Sierra,
718.590.9328, [email protected]
Ballet Folclorico de Bomba y Plena Lanz6,
Orlando, FL, Miguel Lanzo, 407.855.0732
Ballet Folklorico Boriken, San Antonio, TX,
Olga Custodio, 26 Granburg Circle, San
Antonio, TX 78218, [email protected]
Ballet Folklorico de Celia Ayala, Boston, MA,
Celia Ayala, 89 Shirley St.#3, Boston, MA
02119
Ballet Folklorico Hermanos Ayala, Loiza, PR,
Marcos Ayala, 787.758.2222
Giiiro y Maraca
Los Criollos de la Plena, Bronx, NY, Julio
Colon, 718.328.9231
Cultura con Clase, Brooklyn, NY, Angelica
Jimenez, 718.443.8689
Folklorico Bohio (F.L.E.C.H.A.S.), New
Haven, CT, Menen Osorio, 203.562.4488
Golpe de Plena, PR Harry Sebastian,
787.728.4283
Grupo Cohitre D'El Yunque, San Juan, PR,
Miguel Angel Carrillo, 787.721.4048
Grupo Folcor Viento, Philadelphia, PA, Jose
Catala c/o Liz Gonzalez, 856.963.4994,
[email protected]
Grupo Yuba, Chicago, IL, Eli Samuel
Rodriguez, c/o Centro Cultural Ruiz Belvis,
773.235.3988
Guateque, Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico,
Corozal, PR, Joaquin Nieves Calderon,
787.859.8601
Los Hermanos Cepeda, Carolina, PR, Jesus
Cepeda, 787.757.1672
Bombazo de Puerto Rico, Jose Emmanuelli,
787.795.9774
Los Instantaneos de la Plena del Rincon
Criollo, Bronx, NY, Norma Cruz, 288 East
151st Street, #1, Bronx, NY, 10451
Los Bomberos de Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY,
Awilda Sterling & Hal Barton, 718.488.1163
Milagro Bailadores, Portland, OR, Rebecca
Martinez, 503.236.7253, wvvw.milagro_org
Bomplenea, PR Gary Vera, 787.792.3552
Orgullo Boricua, San Diego, CA, Viny Torres,
619.697.8496
BorinPlena, Miami, FL, Efrain Torres,
786.489.4212
Modesto Cepeda y Cimiento de Puerto Rico,
Santurce, PR, Modesto Cepeda, 787.728.1096
Orgullo Taino, Queens, NY, Gladys Rodriguez,
718.521.0051
Plena Dulce, Newark, NJ, Lillian Garcia,
973.645.2690
24
Plena Libre, San Juan, PR, Gary Nunez,
787.763.4729
Giiiro y Maraca
Taller — Conjunto Paracumbe, PR Emanuel
Dufrasne, 787.762.2464
Plenealo, Aibonito, PR, Ivan Rivera,
787.735.3322
TamBoricua, Atlanta, GA, Benjamin Tones,
404.609.9942, web site:
www.elporro.com/Tamboricua.htm
Los Pleneros de la 21, NYC, Juan Gutierrez,
212.427.5221
Viento de Agua, NYC, Hector "Tito" Matos,
646.373.6533, [email protected]
Los Pleneros de la 24, San Francisco, CA,
Hector Lugo, 510.594.4335
Yerbabuena, NYC, Carlos Torres,
[email protected]
Los Pleneros del Batey, Philadelphia, PA,
Joaquin Rivera, 215.456.3014, ext. 42
Yoruba 2, Warwick, RI, Lydia Perez,
401.737.0751
Los Pleneros del Coco, Worcester, MA, Miguel
Almestica, 508.792.5417
Los Pleneros del Quinto Sono, NYC, Enrique
Diaz, 212.260.5879
Los Pleneros de la Salud, Springfield, MA,
Luis Melendez, 413.584.8125
Proyecto La Plena, Minneapolis, MN, Ricardo
GOmez, 612.728.0567
Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance, Austin, TX,
Ana Maria Maynard, 512.251.8122, web site:
www.prfdance.org
Los Relimpagos de la Plena, PR Gerardo
Ferrao, 787.767.1454
Segunda Quimbamba, Jersey City, NJ, Juan
Cartagena, 201.420.6332, temporary web site:
www. ricopositive. com
Son de Plena, Trenton, NJ, Luis Ortiz,
609.584.1644
Gifiro y Maraca is dedicated to the preservation
of Bomba & Plena music from Puerto Rico. It is
issued four times per year and is a publication of
the Segunda Quimbamba Folkloric Center, Inc.,
279 Second Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302, Tel.
201.420.6332. Email Juan Cartagena at:
[email protected]
Subscription is $15 per year.
GUiro y Maraca se dedica a la preservacion de la
musica de Bomba y Plena de Puerto Rico. Se
publica cuatro veces al atio por el Centro
Folclorico Segunda Quimbamba. La
subscripcion es $15 por
Juan Cartagena, Editor, Writer
Rafael Torres, Design & Layout
All photos: Rafael Torres
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