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Event Description

Melanie Maldonado is a bombera, cultural organizer and independent scholar with doctoral training in Performance Studies. She first joined the Bomba community in 2000 going on to participate with several groups and projects in Chicago, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, California, Texas and Florida over the last 20 years. In 2005, she both started the biennial Bomba Research Conference and received a Diaspora Research grant from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies - which in part provided the opportunity to document several of the interviews included in this article. She is published through Cambridge Scholars Press (2008) and the Centro Journal (2008), served as a Boricua slang editor for HEY YO! ¡YO SOY!! (2012) and Obatala’s Bugalu (2013); and contributed to the Grove Dictionary of American Music (2013) and the Centro Journal (2019). In 2011, Melanie started a Lugares Históricos project which highlighted Black history sites in Puerto Rico. In 2018, she led a first-of-its-kind community tour of these ancestral spaces and in 2019 began placing historical markers at these locations of importance for African diasporic gathering and traditional practices. Her work in Bomba has received five mayoral proclamations and recognitions by Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives. Melanie is committed to creating access, building commUnity and helping families re-member the legacies of their ancestors. Her bomba research explicates women’s agency, the importance of textiles, genealogy, lineages of learning, songs as critical records, placemaking and historic spaces of praxis. Melanie is an alumnus of the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program and is a state appointed grant reviewer for arts and culture in Florida. She serves as a board member of the Escuela de Bomba y Plena Tata Cepeda in Kissimmee, Florida and is one of the 2020 Women in Culture for the New Jersey-based Raices Cultural Center.

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  • 08

  • 18

  • 35

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About the event organizer

Bomba is both a traditional dance and musical style of Puerto Rico. This workshop will be lead by Melanie Maldanado.

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