Guest post by Andrea Jacobo
Congas drumming a rhythmic sound as dancers move and sing to each colorful, dynamic beat. The performance is called Bomba, a traditional Afro-Puerto Rican musical and dance style that holds the island’s Afro-Latin Heritage and history.
Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ecuador, and many countries of Latin America share the rich history of the “Afro- Latinidad,” and it lives on through culture, music, religion, and dance.
In honor of Black History Month, Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Company is hosting the first Afro-Latino Night at Evergreen Theatre on Saturday, February 9th to bridge cultures and connect Memphians to the valuable contribution of Afro-Latinos in America and Latin America.
“Cazatetro’s mission is to ‘build a bridge between cultures,’ and part of that is to bring forward Latin culture that often is mistaken by one single aspect of our culture. So, this Afro-Latino Night shows Memphians another side of the Latino culture and its African heritage; it shows our cultural diversity,” — Dorimar Ferrer, co-founder of Cazateatro.
The Afro-Latino Night will highlight the Afro-Latino culture and music of Ecuador, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. The bilingual, multicultural night will include performances by Redobles de Cultura, an Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba group from New York, and Memphis’ very own Inner City South, a spoken word and community activist performance group.
Ferrer explains how music and dance like Bomba connect Latin America to it’s African, Taino, and Spanish ancestry: “It’s [Afro-Latin heritage] the mixture of races and cultures. In fact, it doesn’t have to be African or Puerto Rican. When the drums sounds, it’s about feeling the process.”
Redobles de Cultura and Cazateatro will also host a Bomba workshop to teach the origin and dance elements of the Afro-Puerto Rican tradition. The workshop will be held on February 9th at 11 am.