José Ortiz (aka Dr. Drum) is the co-Director of BombaYo, a youth project dedicated to preserving the rich Afro-Puerto Rican tradition of Bomba. A Bronx-based artist, Dr. Drum has dedicated his life to raising awareness around Bomba through engagement with the community in schools, festivals, public spaces and more. Dr. Drum is a member of Spaceworks’ Partner El Puente’s CADRE program, where community artists rooted in North Brooklyn exchange ideas, share resources, develop and present work, and design and implement strategies for community sustainability.
“Bomba provides a foundation for learning who you are. When I play drum – and I can play any drum – there’s something about the Bomba drum that’s personal, that connects me to my story. This experience not only helps me as a Puerto Rican, but helps others in the community connect with themselves and value culture. How can we do that if we don’t have the space?”