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Celebrating Culture with Bomba at the Pelham Art Center!

By: Blake Lee & Selena Nezaj, Pelham Art Center Interns

Last Sunday we were joined by Jose Ortiz a.k.a Dr. Drum, internationally-acclaimed performer/educator, in a wonderful community-driven Bomba celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month. People from all over Pelham and other neighboring towns gathered around the courtyard of Pelham Art Center to listen and partake in Bombayo, a blend of music, dance, and community with roots in Africa and Puerto Rico.


“…This is why Bomba is still here; because the rhythms have names!”

        – Dr. Drum. Bombarbeque, May 2017


It was not only a performance, but an interactive experience of call and response. Bombayo itself is an ever changing sound, as even the same songs are uplifted with spontaneous and lively call and response interactions with the audience, who become part of the performance. Moved by the dynamic beat and compelling dialogue of Dr. Drum, onlookers joined in with their own rhythm. This was a place of no judgment, and of embracing differences and celebrating culture.