Puerto Rican and Mexican Cultural Traditions Come Together for this Weekend's Bombazo Fandango!
What is the role of both of these musical traditions in local communities?
Rivera: Bomba started where Africans were enslaved in Puerto Rico. It was a way to unite the community, bring people together and to heal from it. There's a lot of different definitions of what the actual word 'bomba' means, but one of the words that we believe that was used for bomba was bambula from the Congo meaning 'a cooling' after a traumatic event. Bomba brought people together who were going through traumatic times. That comes through to this present day. Because of a lot of people's hard work, now there are groups in every town in Puerto Rico. Now there are also groups in the United States.
Urzua: Here in Santa Ana, the son jarocho program at the Centro has become self-sustaining. What I think is pretty significant about Son del Centro is that we've completed our purpose in a way. The son jarocho community has grown here and is as solid as I've ever seen it. We don't have to even promote our fandangos very much. It's going on its own now. Everybody is continuing in being rooted in the tradition and continuing it as a way to create community and as a way to confront the fucked up things people are going through with immigration in this country.
What can a person who has never been to a bombazo or fandango, much less a bombazo fandango, expect when they check out both of them together on Saturday?
Urzua: I don't know what to expect myself! Things kind of organically happen. That's what's possible with these two genres of music. It's not a fusion. Our intention is not a fusion and I don't think our people ought to expect that. It's sharing the two traditions in their complete whole and then you get this organic thing happening where a requinto player starts playing along with chorus of bomba. It happens on its own!
Rivera: Last year we had the magic of the two musical genres coming together in a song. It might happen, but it's not something we're going to force. But what people can expect is dozens of musicians from both genres coming together and giving their heart and soul to the community.
The 3rd annual Bombazo Fandango celebration takes place at El Centro Cultural de Mexico, 313 N. Birch Street, Santa Ana. Friday and Saturday 6-11 p.m. Free. All Ages.
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