“...This is why Bomba is still here; because the rythms have names!”
- Dr. Drum. Bombarbeque, May 2017
Born on December 3rd, 1958, at St. Vincent Hospital to Puerto Rican parents both from Caguas, Puerto Rico, Dr. Drum is known as an independent full time community artist advocating for Puerto Rican culture to it’s full capacity.
Bronx native, Jose Ortiz aka Dr. Drum, is a self-taught percussionist of Afro Caribbean rhythms. He is an advocate for the cultural arts and has been active as an organizer and educator of Afro Puerto Rican Bomba, a traditional African derived music and art form. For the past 13 years, he has taught at numerous after-school programs throughout NYC where he has developed original curricula for teaching percussion to young people.
Presently, Dr. Drum is co founder and musical director of BombaYo Afro-Puerto Rican Youth Project. His work helps youth members develop a strong sense of identity and responsibility through actively exploring their cultural roots. Dr. Drum’s engaging style encourages children and adults to explore their own musicality. He sees this art form as a vehicle for self- discipline, cultural affirmation, and healing. In doing this work he seeks to bring awareness and appreciation of the contributions of the African Diaspora in the Americas.
Dr. Drum has received professional teaching artist training through the Brooklyn Arts Council, Bronx Council On the Arts, City Lore and the Union Square Award professional development program. Furthermore, he has co- chaired a committee and presented for the Bomba Research Conference as well as awarded numerously for his cultural contributions.