Pixel Project: Manny Cepada, Bomba Performer

It’s summer time in San Diego. Music fills the air…the rhythms draw you in and you start to sway. What is that beautiful sound? Bomba!

Bomba is a popular form of Puerto Rican dance music with over 300 years of history. Bomba is not just a rhythm, it’s a language the body can feel and instinctively move to the beats. It can be described as a dialogue between the dancer and drummer. The drummer challenges the dancer to a rhythmic duel, forming a creative relationship with the percussionists and singers. It’s enjoyable to watch and fun to dance along with.

The most well-known traditional players are the Cepeda Family. The Cepeda Family has spent generations playing Bomba and setting historical records in their hometown. For example, Rafael Cepeda was named “The Patriarch of Bomba and Plena”, by the government of Puerto Rico, in recognition of his contributions to the islands.

San Diegans can enjoy authentic Puerto Rican Bomba music right here in Southern California. Rafael Cepeda’s nephew, Manny Cepeda, lives and plays right here in San Diego. Manny Cepeda and his Orchestra are well-known in San Diego. They play at many San Diego events such as Gator On the Bay, Art Walk in Little Italy and on the Embarcadero.

Manny recently flew to Puerto Rico to cut his new album entitled, “Raices” which is Spanish for “Roots”. The album is dedicated to his late uncle and many of his cousins collaborated on the production. In an interview with SD Entertainer, Manny reflects on the roots of his music career; “We all grew up with music and I played with my uncle from a very young age.”

Check out Manny’s new album or catch him playing downtown at Café Seville. Let those summer time rhythms take you away.

Check out Manny’s new album or catch him playing downtown at Café Seville. Let those summer time rhythms take you away.

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