For the ecuadorian afro-rhythm see Bomba (Ecuador)
Bomba is one of the most famous musical styles. Although there is some controversy surrounding its origin, most agree that it is a largely African music. The rhythm and beat are played by a set of hand drums and a maraca. Dance is an integral part of the music: the dancers move their bodies to every beat of the drum, making bomba a very wild and rich dance. Bomba is described to be a challenge between the drummer and the dancer. The dancer produces a series of gestures to which the primo drummer provides a synchronized beat. Thus, it is the drummer who attempts to follow the dancer and not the other way around. The dancer must be in great physical shape and the challenge usually continues until either the dancer or drummer discontinues. The main instruments used in bomba style music are any number of low pitched hand drums used to create a base rhythm, and a higher pitch drum which accentuates the beat with improvised patterns. Other instruments used are the palitos or cuas, which are sticks that are struck against any, usually wooden, surface. A single large maraca usually completes the sound of bomba, though a güiro has commonly been used in orchestral arrangements. Both of these last two instruments have origins in the extinct Taino culture of the Caribbean Basin.
The basic music style was brought to Puerto Rico during the colonial slave trade. It originates in [Kongo] and Angola, Central Africa, although the majority of slaves can be traced back to many different areas of West and Central Africa. The dance was mostly practiced at the northern, southern and western coasts of the island where the majority of Africa's descendants lived. It is said by most bomba practitioners around the island that the town of Mayagüez is considered the birth place of bomba in Puerto Rico. The men use a series of pelvic thrusts while the women would swish their skirts around. In bomba shows, the typical apparel worn by the dancers is what slaves may have used in social gatherings. Men wear a white outfit and Panama hat and women wear big plantation skirts and a head scarf or bundaloo.