AfriCaribe brings Chicagoans together with Puerto Rican music and dance

By Alissa Anderegg

On the last Saturday of each month, up to 200 Chicagoans gather in West Town to celebrate their community through song and dance. These musical gatherings called “bombazos” are held at the non-profit AfriCaribe. They give locals of all ages the opportunity to come together to take part in the traditional Puerto Rican music of bomba. Each bombazo is a “free for all” where participants can improvise together through singing, dancing and drumming. AfriCaribe founder Eravisto “Tito” Rodriguez says he hopes this will encourage both attendees and performers to learn more about the rich cultural background of bomba music.

Photo at top: Twelve-year-old bomba student Yanese Rolzan dances in AfriCaribe’s monthly bombazo gathering. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)