Instrumentation (13 players)
Xylophone, Marimba (1,2,3), Vibraphone, Bass/Marimba, Timbales, Bongo Bell, Conga, Cua, Drumset, Shekere, Claps
Bomba is a traditional rhythm from Puerto Rico traced to the end of the 19th Century. The rhythm was born in the coastal areas of the island by the African slaves who were brought there by the Spaniards. This music was the way of communication (story teller) at the end of the day through drumming, singing and dancing. At least 3 drummers and a Cuá player. Cuá, like the clave, is the name of the instrument as well as rhythm, usually played on a smaller barrel or hollow tree trunk or even on the side of the! barrel drum and maracas. The drums were made of rum and or wine barrels with a goat skin head, called Barriles. There are many different rhythms of Bomba. The most popular and use by music arrangers are:
Bomba Sicá, a moderate to a medium fast tempo in 4 / 4. Bomba Cuembé, medium slow to a moderate tempo in 4 / 4. Bomba Yubá, moderate to a fast tempo in 6 / 8.
The music usually starts with a choral section (A) in which the subject of the song and dance is presented. Solo vocal (B) who will sing the story. These two sections will go back and forth for a while. In the middle section (C) the drummers becomes more active while the solo drummer will improvise complementing the solo dancer who, with the steps, would also tell the story. Sometimes it would turn into a challenging match between the drummer and the dancer. In this section can be added some vocals, singing a shorter version of the previous choir (D). Then, back to the main choir and solo vocal repeating this for a shorter time and ending with the choir and a percussion break.
BOMBA É follows this form. The Barriles drums are replace by conga drums. The conga pattern should be doubled as many times as the number of students will permit it. Tune the drums at about a whole step difference. The solo conga drum should be tuned the highest so that it can be identified among the others.