Bomba – Dancing the Drum


Produced by Searchlight Films
Directed & Photographed by Ashley James


BOMBA – DANCING THE DRUM is a one-hour film about the legendary Cepeda family, known as the “patriarch family” of Bomba, Puerto Rico’s richest musical expression of its African heritage. For nearly a century, the Cepeda family has been in the forefront of the struggle to keep the Bomba tradition alive in Puerto Rico.

Don Rafael Cepeda, the 86 year-old patriarch of the family, and his wife, Caridad, have passed the tradition on to their 12 children, who, in turn, are passing it on to their children and grandchildren. Saturated with the color, music, and dance of Puerto Rico, BOMBA DANCING THE DRUM is a portrait of a remarkable family that has chosen to embrace the future with the strength of the past.

“THERE IS SIMPLY NO OTHER FILM LIKE IT IN THE WORLD! …filmmaker and director Ashley James and ethnomusicologist and producer Roberta Singer have made a major contribution to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture and life.”

Jose Cartagena – Guiro y Maraca 

“REMARKABLE! …does for the exuberant and sexy Puerto Rican bomba what ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’ did for traditional Cuban music.”

Valerie Gladstone – New York Times

“STUNNING! This intensely moving film shows us more than one man’s passion. It is also a portrait of a remarkable family.”

Sarah Kaufman – The Washington Post


Elizabeth Zimmer – The Village Voice

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