The Bomba del Chota originated with African ancestors’ of today’s Afro-Ecuadorians who arrived in Ecuador in the late sixteenth century when several slave-bearing ships crashed on the country’s coast. Today there are two main sub-genres of Afro-Ecuadorian music:
— the marimba-based music of Esmeraldas, which has direct ties to African (Bantu) genres that use marimba, and
— the more Spanish-influenced yet still distinctly African “bomba” from the Chota Valley.
As a group Afro-Ecuadorians fare slightly better (economically and socially) than Ecuador’s indigenous population, but they still face poverty and many other entrenched challenges. For many, Afro-Ecuadorian music is a statement of cultural separateness and an expression of Afro-Ecuadorian cultural and political pride.
In music class we have a great time dancing to “Bomba Chuchaqui”— and yes, some of the female dancers are balancing bottles on their heads. Also enjoy another band from Chota, Marabu, and their performance of “Bomba Bomba.” (beware: it starts out loud.)
PLEASE NOTE: The lesson and embedded video are NOT “How to dance the Bomba del Chota” tutorials. The goal of this lesson is to provide the tools for you to treat your very youngest students to their first introduction to Ecuadorian bomba and to inspire you to get up and dance together. (Your dance moves can’t be any worse than mine!) Ideally the lesson will be the first step on your and your students’ road to further Ecuadorian bomba exploration.
Afro-Ecuadorian history, shipwreck and all | About Esmeraldas | About the Chota Valley | Ecuadorian human rights report (including information about Afro-Ecuadorian discrimination) | Afro-Ecuadorian music as a statement of cultural pride (the link is a pdf).
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