• Elsie Hernandez

The Latino African experience with Dr. Drum from Bombayo

Dr. Drum of BombaYo

This month is Latino Heritage month and there are a few things going on in New York City. The funny thing is that early this morning I was on my way to work not knowing, that an hour later I would be sitting on a stage with 15 other people, playing Latino African beats on a Bomba drum. Taught by this fascinating man Jose Ortiz - aka. Dr. Drum of BombaYo, an organization that keeps Latino African roots alive in the community. Thanks to Hugo Fernandez of LaGuardia Community College for coordinating this event, as well as a few others on campus. Mr. Drum bought the art to the stage by kindly bringing over 50 drums, that he also bought during the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico to help support a business. Then brought them back to New York to use in his workshops. Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love this kind of stuff. Owning my own Conga drums for a while now and putting off learning how to play them has ended on this day. Dr. Drum has inspired me to play again.  His inspirational words and passionate drive to show the audience what lives in him, kept this demonstration more exciting.  Such a glorious event. Celebrating our culture and learning about some of it’s history through music. (Photos taken by me)

Meeting Dr. Drum was absolutely an honor, but learning about his background was actually moving. Jose is originally from Bronx, New York, both of his parents are Puerto Rican from the town Caguas. He is known as one of the Top National Afro Rican Bomba Artists throughout the nation and is a nationally highly acclaimed professional on-stage performer, educator in Pan-African, Caribbean and Latin culture and is a self-taught percussionist of Afro Caribbean rhythms. He has been an advocate for Cultural Arts, activist, organizer and educator of Afro Puerto Rican Bomba for over 20 years and is continuing his success by working with great artists such as Afro Rican Jazz Artist William Cepda and Broadway actor Corbin Bleu and continuous performances throughout the nation. With his talent and love for educating, he reaches out to the youth and encourages everyone to reach in within themselves to find their music. You can join his workshops by reaching out to his office, Dr. Drum at 347-310-0583, or maybe you would like to have him perform at your next event.

About BombaYo

BombaYo ignites the ancestral rhythms of Bomba, an African derived music and dance tradition developed in Puerto Rico. The synergy of call and response singing, drumming and dance provide the foundation for a dynamic interplay between the solo drummer and dancer. 

In the spirit of Sankofa -looking to your past for a better future- BombaYo members draw from the Bomba tradition to enrich their lives and embrace their cultural legacy. Through workshops, cultural presentations, performances and partnerships, BombaYo engages communities throughout NYC area to raise awareness of Afro Puerto Rican culture and to connect Bomba to the vast traditions of the African Diaspora.

This really was a great moment for myself and an absolute delight to have met someone that is so dedicated to helping and teaching others, about uplifting their spirits in good and bad times and using Latino African Rhythms to get through it. Living and loving life. Thank you Dr. Drum!!

Information taken from Bombayo's Website


Visit: 1125 Grand Concourse Bronx, NY 10452

Telephone: 347-310-0583



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