Let's talk Latin America

Bristol’s own Bomba de Tiempo

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On Monday 22nd January, Improvised Groove will launch in Bristol with a free music workshop, exploring the Ritmo y Percusión con Señas (Rhythm and Percussion with signs) technique developed by Buenos Aires group La Bomba de Tiempo.

Every Monday in Buenos Aires, 1,000-2,000 people gather in former-factory space Konex to witness percussion group La Bomba de Tiempo. Each show is different, with parts being improvised by the musicians, and a conductor directing and re-mixing the music by giving a series of hand signals to the group. This can lead to the sort of crowd-pleasing fast-paced rhythms you would expect from 17 top-class Latin musicians playing together, or sometimes to mind-bending experimental poly-rhythms and irregular time signatures which can leave dancers in the audience confused but in awe.

La Bomba was formed in 2006 by multi-instrumentalist and composer Santiago Vazquez. Santiago was initially inspired by American jazz musician Butch Morris, who used signs to direct improvisations in his group. Santiago has moved on from La Bomba to direct a new jazz-funk group, La Grande, which invites members of the crowd familiar with the signs up on stage for the second half of the set, as either musicians or conductors. Experimental songwriter Juana Molina and cumbia/hip-hop rapper Miss Bolivia are among those who have participated recently. CERPS (Centro de Estudio de Ritmo y Percusión con Señas), a school founded to train musicians in the technique, has ensured a pool of collaborators and new groups using the technique, which has spread to other places such as Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, and now Bristol!

Improvised Groove founder David Fakray spent two years in Buenos Aires, and two weeks studying intensively with Santiago Vazquez at the CERPS school. Having recently moved to Bristol, he intends to teach the technique to as many musicians as possible, leading to gigs, and ideally a weekly residency like La Bomba de Tiempo. The initial taster workshop (which is nearly fully subscribed, will be followed by a 4-week introductory course to the technique. Further details can be found on the Facebook event.



Improvised Groove Taster Workshop: Monday 22nd January, 7-9pm. Free.
Unit 9, Ferry Steps Industrial Estate, Albert Road BS2 0XW
Please RSVP to dfakray@gmail.com with your name and contact number or call/text/Whatsapp 07476 413832 for more info or to book onto the course commencing 29th January.

Header image- La Bomba de Tiempo, Mercedes Cotoli