Renaissance of Bomba & Plena Part 4: Types of Bomba

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This post is also available in: Español

It turns out there are several types of Bomba rhythms. We’re going to cover and show you most of them in this part of this blog series.

Most of the types of Bomba you can assign to a particular location or region where they came from. The reason is because of the movement of slaves we discussed in Part 3.

Types of Bomba

Woman dancing different types of Bomba.
Bomba is played and danced according to the type of Bomba.

It so happens that the exact number of types of Bomba rhythms varies according to how they are classified and subclassified. It seems that there are 7 main types of Bomba. Of these, there seems to be a general agreement that 3 are the principal ones. So here we go!

Consensus seems to build that the rhythms of Sicá, Holandé, and Yubá are the principals rhythms of Bomba. Along with those, Cuembé, Bámbula, Cocobalé, and Hoyomula seem to complete the main types.

Here’s the list of the types of Bomba that I found:

Sicá
belén (Santurce)
calinda
cunya
danué
gracimá
Paulé

Cuembé
alimá
balancé
belén (Sur)
cuembé (Cataño)
cuembé (Santurce)
güembé
güembé corrido

Holandé
francés
holandé (Cataño)
mariandá
Mariangola

Bámbula
bámbula
rulé
seis corrido

Cocobalé
Hoyomula

Yubá
corvé (Loiza)
yubá masón
yubá cuartiao
yubá (Cataño)
leró (Sur)
leró (Santurce)

Audio-visual Demonstration of Types of Bomba

As I said in Part 3, I’m going to show you the types of rhythms of Bomba, so you can see and listen to them. But I said I’ll do it with the help of a friend.

I found a video by master percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo, in which he demonstrates, along with professor Michael Spiro, the different types of Bomba rhythms. So here we go…

The Origins of Plena

Now that you have a good understanding of the origins, structure, and types of rhythms of Bomba, we’re ready to switch our conversation to Plena.

In Part 5, I’ll be covering the origins of Plena. As you’ll see, they’re very different than those of Bomba.

Note: the main blog picture is the “Los Ayala” painting by Samuel Lind of Loiza, Puerto Rico.

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