Taller Bombalele was founded in September 2014 by Julia Cepeda, the granddaughter of Puerto Rican Bomba Patriarch Don Rafael Cepeda Atiles, and Denise Solis, founder/director of Las Bomberas de la Bahia. The Taller Bombalele community in the diaspora is committed to the Bomba values and practice that were handed down by the Cepeda family in the San Mateo de Cangrejo/Santurce region of Puerto Rico. Julia Cepeda and Denise Solis offer Bomba percussion, song, and dance classes and host Bombazos, Bomba performed informally in community, throughout the Bay Area. Classes are offered on Sunday afternoons at Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda, CA.
Our work Bomba community promotes the Bomba tradition that grew out of the Taino-African alliance in resistance to colonization and slavery in Puerto Rico. Julia and Denise emulate the teaching practices of the Cepeda elders when teaching the Bomba tradition. Students learn the songs, rhythms, and dances within their historical contexts. The community engages in classes, lectures, workshops, and Bombazos in an effort to deepen students knowledge of the tradition of Bomba within the context of Puerto Rican history as told through the tradition, which continues to preserve and expand this form of expression and resistance in community.
Taller Bombalele is also proud to be part of a diverse community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Julia and Denise are committed to teaching and learning in a collaborative environment that reflects the diversity of the San Francisco/Bay Area. The Taller Bombalele community welcomes different cultural experiences, gender identities and expressions, and values intergenerational participation. We strive to continually learn, grow, and support each other in our learning by lifting up our music and dance tradition as a community that practices a collectivist model of community led by women of color and the rich perspective they bring to leadership roles.