UN ARBOL QUE ME DE SOMBRA: Bomba in Chicago 2011-2012

47 3Arts supporters
$4,459 raised of $3,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Jamie Topper's project was funded on March 30, 2012
    • 3Arts matched
    • 149% contributed

In a Nutshell

Reflecting a lively, local resurgence of bomba, or Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance, this project will produce a film documenting bomba's historical and contemporary relevance. 

The Full Story...

This project is a documentary film intended to document and celebrate the bomba community of Chicago.  Bomba is a form of Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance with a long and varied history, which has gone through periods of growth and broad exposure, and relative obscurity.  It has lived in the homes and public spaces of the sugarcane plantation era in Puerto Rico, kept alive by practitioners and elders, then relegated to the stage as a folkloric form, and now reinvigorated through active cultural restoration, both on the island and in diaspora.  Right now in Chicago there is a lively resurgence of bomba happening.  Mainly based in Humboldt Park, it is VIBRANT and full of passionate, active and well informed practitioners, teachers, learners, innovators and supporters who are culture-keeping left and right with love.  There are deeply felt reasons for the perpetuation of this music, and I think the sheer beauty of the music and the people giving it life here should be celebrated and documented.

The film is a collective statement, to pull our voices together in a way that will be of value to cultural insiders as well as outsiders.  It is intended to document the depth and diversity of the community, through the music itself.  It is being organized as a collection of songs and stories through which the larger issues will be recognized.  Each group featured in the film is offering one song from their repertoire that they feel represents their approach to this music and its historical and contemporary relevance.  The groups collaborating so far are AfriCaribe (www.africaribe.net),Nuestro Tambo, Bomba Con Buya, Las Bompleneras, Jorge Emmanuelli Nater of Hermanos Emmanuelli Nater, and Melanie Emmanuelli, with support from many other community members.

If we raise two thirds of our goal, 3Arts will kick in the rest.  Your support at any level will help tremendously to finish the film.  THANK YOU!


Jamie Topper is a musician and teaching artist who has been generously invited into the Bomba y Plena community of Chicago.  She currently performs with AfriCaribe and teaches in schools and community centers through the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center's early childhood program, CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education) and CCAP (Center for Community Arts Partnerships of Columbia College).  She has worked on many community ethnographic projects which aim to support, sustain and celebrate cultural forms of music and dance.  www.jamietopper.com

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25 - Thank you!!
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50 - Thank you and a “Otras Historias de Elena” CD by Nuestro Tambo
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100 - Thank you and a bomba or plena group workshop with one of the musicians featured in the film
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250 - Thank you and a private lesson in drumming or dancing with one of the musicians featured in the film
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500 - Thank you and a VIP invitation for two for the screening of the film
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000 - Thank you and any of the above, plus a copy of the DVD
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
Jamie Topper image
Jamie Topper is an artist whose practice spans public sculpture, ecological design, and music. She has designed and built museum exhibits, public sculptures and installations that engage the public in ...
  • Update 1: Bomba!
    Posted on February 15, 2012

    Thank you to our newest contributers!!

    Please share this link with your networks to spread the love and help this project happen!  Remember, your contributions will only go through if our goal is reached.  Thank you for supporting culture, music and community in Chicago!


    Update 2: Go team!!
    Posted on January 13, 2012

    Wow, we have raised 25% of our goal, and it's only been live for one week!  Thank you to all who have contributed so far!  Let's keep the momentum going!

    Update 3: THANK YOU!
    Posted on March 15, 2012

    WOW!  Thank you to everyone who has pledged donations!!  You have contributed to a beautiful form of music and dance in Chicago and beyond.  I hope you get a chance to experience bomba live, and until then, stay tuned for developments on the film and redeeming your rewards!

    In the name of music, culture and humanity,


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Mark Becker

    • Ruben Feliciano

    • Mari Kaftan

    • Carmen I Dominguez

    • Jordan Karol

    • Elizabeth Gonzalez

    • Sara Nadler

    • edwin monclova

    • Stacy Goldate

    • normarie rodriguez

    • nina lichtenstein

    • Sonia Sanchez

    • Jamie Topper

    • Morrie Bowie

    • casey gunschel

    • Nancy Bardawil

    • Jon Satrom

    • Susan Deutsch

    • Angel Fuentes

    • Nick Jaffe

    • Evaristo Rodriguez

    • Esmie Cuevas Decker

    • Jessica Hudson

    • Dan O'Donnell

    • Amanda Lichtenstein

    • Scott Topper


    • Sara Zalek

    • Lindsay Potter

    • Grace Clear

    • Kurt Iselt

    • Karen Berns

    • Elliot Schiffer

    • Josie Raney

    • Allison Spicer

    • Rita Knorr

    • Maraliz Salgado

    • alyce henson

    • Joseph Horton

    • Mark Beasley

    • Rise Jones

    • Maria-Teresa Roman

    • Jose Ramon Rivear

    • Joanne Vena

    • Danielle Paz

    • malissa medina

    • Aimee Bass

  • Commenter profile picture
    Jamie, this project sounds really exciting. The footage you showed me was amazing. I can't wait to learn more about Bomba in Chicago. Good luck!
    Jon Satrom on Jan 18, 2012
    Jamie, this is wonderful that the film will be completed--can't wait to see it!
    Aimee Bass on Mar 28, 2012
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