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Bomba is one of Puerto Rico's most famous musical styles. Although there is some controversy surrounding its origin, most agree that it is a largely African music. The rhythm and beat are played by a set of west African drums called congas. Dance is an integral part of the music: the dancers in move their bodies to every beat of the drum, making bomba a very wild and rich dance. Bomba is described to be a challenge between the drummer and the dancer. The drummer will beat the drums and the dancer is to dance as fast as the drummer is beating the drum. The dancer must be in great physical shape to keep up and the challenge usually continues until either the dancer or drummer discontinues. The main instrument used in bomba style music are low pitched bomba drums which usually supports the rhythm of bomba music called the buleador. Other instruments used are the palitos or clave, which are sticks that are struck together to form the sound similar to a cowbell. Maracas and a güiro are also heard in many bomba songs, which are instruments created and used by the Taino Indians of the Caribbean Basin.

The basic music style was brought to Puerto Rico during the colonial slave trade. It originates in Ghana, West Africa, although the majority of slaves can be traced back to 31 different areas of West and Central Africa. The dance was mostly practiced at the northern, southern and western coasts of the island where the majority of Africa's descendants lived. The dance was used to mock the slave owners. The men used to use a series of pelvic thrusts while the women would swish their skirts around. The traditional clothing for Bomba for men was a white outfit and fedora hat. The women wore big plantation skirts, Santería beads (of Yoruba origin), and a head scarf or bundaloo.

The name of the drums is not "congas". The genre actually takes its name from the drums that are called "bombas". They are also called "barriles". The high pitch drum is called "subidor" or "primo", and the low pitch drum is called "buleador" or "segundo". In the traditional bomba two other percussion instruments are used: a large maraca and a pair of sticks that beat on the side of the buleador. The sticks as well as the rhythm they played are called "cuás". There are several styles of bomba called "seises de bomba".

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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