Discover & explore for grade schoolers: Bomba music

By Children’s Librarian José Cruz

This week, I would like to introduce the African influence on Puerto Rican music by exploring Bomba traditions.

Bomba music is a call and response process where the dancer communicates with the drummers and vice versa. This musical tradition dates back to 17th century Puerto Rico, and it served as a means to communicate messages amongst the enslaved population in Puerto Rico. 

Learn more with this lesson plan

The Smithsonian Institutes’ lesson plan on Bomba music focuses on the use of instruments in Bomba and lyrics.

Try these books

  • Grandma’s Records by Eric Velasquez discusses a grandmother’s bond with her grandson over different Puerto Rican musical traditions.
  • Lulu Delacre’s Rafi and Rosi: Music also takes readers on a journey exploring Bomba, Plena, and Salsa music in Puerto Rico through the adventures of two tree frogs (coquís) in Puerto Rico.

Check out this Discovery Kit

Borrow the Learn Spanish Discovery Kit to explore the language, as well.

About Discovery Kits

More than 50 Discovery Kits with play-and-learn activities that encourage kids to explore nature, make art, practice coding, and even learn to play the ukulele are available for checkout at the Main Library.

To check out

  1. Place a hold on a Discovery Kit in the library’s catalog or browse the available kits at the Main Library in the Children’s Services Area.
  2. If you’ve placed a hold, wait until you receive notification that your hold is ready for pickup at the Main Library.
  3. Use the self-checkouts available on all three floors of the Main Library (but not in the lobby) to check out your kit.
  4. Enjoy the kit for up to three weeks!

To return

  1. When you are done with the kit or the due date has arrived, return your kit to the Main Library.
  2. Kits can be returned inside the Main Library vestibule and lobby.
Children's Librarian Jose

About José

José is a children’s librarian with an interest In YA fiction, active storytimes, and social justice programming. He could usually be found thinking of different ways to make storytime enjoyable.

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