Bomba as We Know It-“Buya Vive”


By Brenda Torres Figueroa, Art Teacher, PACHS 

Bomba has been at the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago for many decades dedicating cultural spaces for its presentation, education and community engagement. The exciting history of bomba particularly written and celebrated in our streets, community centers, and events by bomberas/os from all walks of life has served to frame a process of healing and to communicate the histories of perseverance of our community.

Buya is a Chicago-based ensemble that aims to preserve and advance Bomba, Puerto Rico’s oldest surviving African-rooted tradition. Buya means ‘good spirit’ in Taino, the language spoken among Puerto Rico’s indigenous population, and the group strives to embody this idea while sharing the tradition through concerts, workshops, and community engagement. This includes artistic dialogue with historians and performers from Puerto Rico, and collaborative work with various Chicago-based groups such as Jarochicanos (Mexico), Laruni Hati (Belize), and Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company (Haïti). The ensemble celebrated its fifth anniversary this past November, but members of Bomba con Buya have been committed to studying and sharing the Bomba tradition for more than twenty years.

After five years of performing and touring, Buya a Chicago-based bomba ensemble has recorded its first album, “Buya Live.” The album captures Buya’s innovative yet traditional approach to bomba along with the ensemble’s infectious live performance. Buya is pleased to announce its new album “Buya Live” with a release concert at the legendary House of Blues in Chicago at the end of March 2015. This historical event for the entire Puerto Rican community celebrates the imaginative, hardworking and inspiring group and their extraordinary journey years in the making, one that has been highlighted in Windy City Live, B96 radio and recently with exciting performances at Cumbiazazo, Trinity United Church, Mr. Browns among others. For more information, please visit: