Música Tradicional de Puerto Rico / Puerto Rican Traditional Music
Disfrute la Historia e Información de nuestra música Puertorriqueña.
Enjoy the History and Information of our Puerto Rican Music.
Bomba is a Musical Genre and one of the oldest traditional musical styles of Puerto Rico. The origin of Bomba remains unclear, researchers found it began in the late 17th century and early 18th century. It is mainly influenced by 3 different cultures: Taino, Spanish, and African cultures.
Bomba instruments are the maraca, cuá (two sticks that were originally banged on the side of the Barril) and Bomba drums or "Barriles". The base rhythm is played by drummers called "Buleadores", and one "Barril" called "Primo" or "Subidor", replicates every single move of the dancer, this is called "Repique". The dancer produces a series of gestures to which the primo o subidor drummer provides a synchronized beat. Thus, it is the drummer who attempts to follow the dancer and not the other way around. It is a challenge/connection between the drummer and the dancer.
Bomba is a community affair that still thrives in and outside of Puerto Rico.
Plena was borned in Barrio La Joya del Castillo, in Ponce, Puerto Rico between 1895 and 1903. Plena is played with Panderos or Panderetas (Plena Hand Drums). Traditional Plena was played with only two Panderos called “Seguidores”. Each “Seguidor” (follower) has its own pattern that repeats all the time. In the Traditional Plena, the “Seguidores” communicate with each other, meaning that when one is talking with strikes in the Pandero the other is listening. Later, a third Pandero was incorporated called “Requinto”. The Requinto improvises and does “Repiques”. There were another instruments incorporated to Plena. Guitar (Spanish influence), Cuatro, Guiro (Taino – Native Islanders influence), and Accordion (European influence).
Plena songs are mostly narrative. Plena was used as the medium to propagate news like “Periodico Cantado”. Most songs narrated a particular situation, an everyday life experience or stories.
Like in the Bomba Genre, in Plena everyone sings the chorus, and a lead singer sings the verses or improvisations.
The origin of the Puerto Rican danza is not clear, but most scholars agree that it began around the middle of the 19th century (around 1840).
The first part, called the "paseo", usually consisted of 8 measures , and lacked a rhythmic base but served as a tonal introduction. The second part, which was called the "merengue" was extended from its original 16 measures to 34 in 1854 and up to 130 later on. Other parts began to appear and a new musical form began to take shape.
The form continued evolving until it was taken by the young pianist Manuel G. Tavarez, who just arrived from his studies in Paris, and took it to a new artistic level. His disciple, Juan Morel Campos took it from where he left it and developed it to its maximum expression, composing more than 300 danzas, most of them masterpieces of an exquisite beauty. The evolved danza was inspired mostly on women and love.