PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Breaking Bread In Puerto Rico

I had a chance to travel to Puerto Rico recently with my "boo thang" for a week. Anytime I travel anywhere, I'm looking for connections to my homeland, an island on the other side of the ocean. If there's a chance to break bread and talk story with the local native families, then it beats out any "tourist'y" spot in my book any day.

                 Julia and her father Jesus Cepeda practicing their family tradition of Bomba.

My boo thang, a Chicana from East Los Angeles is in a band called "Los Bomberas de la Bahia" (The Bomberas of the Bay). A band that performs the tradition of Bomba, Afro Puerto Rican resistance music that is rooted in Africa and native roots of the island, and was music found on the plantations of Puerto Rico. Our friends, Denise Solis, the co-director of the band is Mexican from McAllen, Texas. Denise's boo thang, Julia Cepeda, a native Puerto Rican comes from the family who brought Bomba to popular recognition, the Cepeda family. And so with a few days on the island, Julia and Denise along with the Cepeda family, took my boo thang and I on some of their family traditions, of food, drinking, dancing and music. Heres a couple of photos and video to give a little visual explanation.

     Julia's uncle Mario Cepeda with his wife at his home, he makes maracas from the trees in his yard.

Denise with Julia's father, Jesus Cepeda in his home.

We went to Placita Santurce that night for a "Bombazo", where the Cepeda family kept the Bomba tradition alive and well in the streets of San Juan.

Cepeda Familia from SV De-Bug on Vimeo.

A mural of the independent Puerto Rican flag, above is a painting of Rafael Cepeda, Julia's grandfather.

Tasting a variety of homemade cana at Millies, a local home that is a makeshift restaurant for locals.

The Ayala sisters in Loiza, a well known black town. The Ayala's are well known for Bomba from Loiza.

Denise taking a drink of the Ayala's homemade ron cana. A traditional Puerto Rican alcohol.

Julia's brother, Jose Cepeda singing songs from his grandfather.

Last day in the streets of Old San Juan

About Jean Melesaine

Jean Melesaine is a queer Samoan community activist, documentary photographer and editor with Silicon Valley De-Bug. 

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Wonderful blog! It was great meeting you at the Librería and having you listen to some plena! I hope to see you again when I visit the Bay in September!

thank you Jean for such a lovely view of our Island... its a wonderful thing to see someone else's view our my culture... Love you

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