In 1797, the Bomba dance was the social expression that most surprised French traveller, botanist André Pierre LEDRU.
This dance, done then by Whites, mulattos and free Blacks, represented an organised cultural element in Puerto Rico at that time. This was happening of course, in the days when la vida no era dulce e coco. The drums accompanying this dance already called the Bomba dance, came into the island with the slaves from Ghana and from the Fanti-Ashanti civilisation, not forgetting the Carabalis on the southern banks of the Niger and the Congos.
given the social composition of the island, these strong Community musics
accompanying and punctuating anti-slavery protests: 1805, 1822, 1826,
1833, 1835, 1836, 1839, 1841, 1843, 1848; the libations and festive celebrations
serving as vehicles for the every move of the poorer class. The texts
and the songs can already be considered the radio la gente (the peoples’
radio) or the radio bemba.
How did La Bomba become la Plena?
This is the question asked by Edgardo RODRIGUEZ JULIA in the Puertorican daily newspaper El Nuevo Dia of April 9th 1989.
La Plena is a typical example of the music of uncertain origin, resulting from the clash of migratory currents: Barbados, St Kitts, towards Puerto Rico, a deformation of the expression Play it Ann! Play Anne during a dance done by these ‘English’, or even the very fact of dancing during a party at full moon: Luna plena!!!
It is generally agreed that La Plena erupted in the Puertorican rhythmic patrimony between the end of the 19th century and 1916.
The posture of the percussionists would be different, the rhythm livelier, their instruments easy to carry, but the texts, the message, sabor a pueblo would be several pages, several bulletins highlighting innumerable cross sections of life: the humble and, more generally the social, political and cultural peregrinations of the Puertorican people.
These two forms of national musical expressions take shape and are perpetuated at patronal fetes, Carnival and different festivals in the country of maquinolandera.
The drum will find its redemption in the sublime, the mellow, the swaying rhythm of Luís PALÉS MÁTOS, who, through this music, will succeed in extending a spirit of brotherhood to the peoples of our cuenca caribeña, their African roots always laid bare in the poetic palesien song.
And so we’ll see at our Communal table, from La Plena del Menéalo à la Canción Festiva para Ser Llorada, our Caribbean nations identified as follows:
Cuba – ñañigo y bachata
We can all respond to the tune of :
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