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Artist-in-Residence Series

2017 Artists-in-Residence Plena Es at Legacy School of Performing Arts. 

About the Series

The Florida Folklife Program features Florida's outstanding traditional artists in residence in Tallahassee each fall. Residencies consist of free public performances, school presentations and master classes designed to bring folk and traditional arts into the classroom and to broader audiences. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the series began in 2012.

In partnership with Mission San Luis, the FSU Center for Music of the Americas and local schools, the series has featured master artists such as Afro-Cuban batá drummer and National Heritage Fellow Ezequiel Torres, Paco & Celia Fonta of Siempre FlamencoFlorida Folk Heritage Award-winning steel pannist Michael Kernahan, Sacred Steel ensemble The Lee Boys, Puerto Rican plena group Plena Es and bomba group Taller Balancé.

Upcoming Residencies


Free Public Programs


About the 2019 Artists-in-Residence

Angel Reyes Romero is a distinguished performing artist, considered one of the most exceptional masters and educators of bomba music and dance. Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Reyes started his music career at an early age on drum set and latin percussions in his own pop rock group. He later joined pioneer bomba group Teatro Otra Cosa under the direction of Felix Romero, taking part in the first ever ground breaking bomba sinfónica, featuring the folk drumming of bomba and Western classical music in New York in 1975. Reyes apprenticed with Puerto Rican bomba patriarch Don Rafael Cepeda where he trained meticulously on the barriles, or bomba barrel drums, and dance techniques. He performed and toured as a principle member of La Familia Cepeda, Los Hermanos Ayala, and Paracumbé, the three most important groups representing the regional styles of bomba.

In 1981, Reyes founded Agueybaná, developing community and after school performing arts programs for youth. In 2002, he participated in “ReEncuentro de Pies, Tambores y Faldas,” a display of flamenco, bomba and kathak (classical Indian dance) in which he and his son Otoqui assumed the roles of choreographers, singers, and drummers. Later, the show won the “Premio ACE” and “HOLA” awards for Best Musical Production.

In Chicago in 2008, Reyes was recognized by the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center for his dedication and contribution to bomba. He received an M.A. from Goddard College in 2011 in Caribbean cultural studies in education, and serves as a board member for the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy, a non-profit cultural center, dedicated to supporting children, youth, and adults in realizing their potential.

In 2015, Reyes founded Taller Balancé Bomba Afro-Boricua, dedicated to sharing bomba drum, dance, and drum-making with new generations and uniting diverse cultures through music. The group is comprised of the most dedicated students and practitioners from Kissimmee, Orlando, Palm Bay and Jacksonville, who are strongly committed to offering community events, presentations, workshops and conferences. Members include Sonia Zayas (singer/dancer), Julissa Manners Rojas (dancer/singer), Lourdes Garcia (dancer), Johanna Alduén Rios (dancer/singer), Francisco DeJesus (singer/drummer), Dimas Sanchez (drummer - subidor), Angel Reyes Romero (speaker/drummer/dancer).

About the Tradition

Bomba is a social and communal traditional dance and musical style of Puerto Rico characterized by an improvised dialogue between an individual dancer and the primary drummer. Consistent with the three main cultural influences that make up Puerto Rican identity, bomba emerged from West African, Taíno, and Spanish cultural roots. The central components include percussion, song, and dance; these combined cultural expressions were conducted in plantation communities across the island. Born out of the sugarcane plantation history of Puerto Rico, bomba developed among field laborers and enslaved people of African and Indigenous descent. Although initially many more rhythms were used, the primary four that have been preserved include sicá, cüembé, yubá, and holandés. Bomba is most commonly attributed to Puerto Rico’s coastal regions of Mayagüez, Ponce, Santurce, Loiza, Guayáma, Arroyo, and Cataño.

To Participate

To participate as a partner or featured artist email [email protected].