Reblogged from Repeating Islands: Calling Puerto Ricans to Their African Roots with the Sound of His Drum
This article by David González appeared in The New York Times.
Jose Ortiz stood on the steps of the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse, a gorgeous Bronx palazzo bathed in sunshine, his barrel drum by his side. Before him, on the lawn, a circle of people gathered, passing a calabash or sage leaves as they blessed one another. As the faint scent of gardenia and lavender wafted through the air, Mr. Ortiz straddled his drum and played.
This was not a performance. It was life. In his case, this instrument of wood, metal and hide had transformed him into Dr. Drum, a man on a mission to reconnect Puerto Ricans with their roots, not just on their island, but in Africa. He is a leader of BombaYo, a troupe that plays bomba, one of Puerto Rico’s traditional musical forms.
This week, the city will once again…
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