Todos de Pie! is not your mom’s Bomba

Todos de Pie! performing at The Owl on May 31. Photo by Elisabet Bernard.
Todos de Pie! performing at The Owl on May 31. Photo by Elisabet Bernard.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]odos de Pie! ended their three-night residency at The Owl in Logan Square on Sunday night.

Playing in the back of the dimly lit bar, the band drew in a large crowd when they roared onto stage. Consisting of eight members, the band had an overwhelming sound that included a medley of instruments that included a trumpet, a trombone and clarinet. Though it was an eclectic mix, they all played harmoniously, linking the vibrant sounds of Bomba with experimental elements.

Frank Rosaly, the founder and drummer of Todos de Pie!, added an especially distinctive quality to the show. His dynamic personality introduced the songs and band members and switching between different types of drums, he expertly crafted the sounds of classic Puerto Rican influences with surprise elements such as psychedelic beats. The music’s fusion of traditional with modern resulted in a powerful and unique set.

The diversity of Todos de Pies! music mirrored the crowd, who consisted of people of various ethnicities and ages. The crowd cheered, danced and applauded each of the band members’ musical contributions. Leading the pack of the band was not only Rosaly, but two singers whose vocals were enchanting. The music Rosaly produced was fun, enticing and resulted in a union with The Owl’s environment.

Between the first and second set, Rosaly took a moment to talk about his music and the controversy it initially created. He described how his music was poorly received by an older generation, who were hesitant to accept his modern renditions.

“In traditional music, it is always in a locked form, it’s black and white, there’s rights and wrongs…I wanted to break those rules, not out of disrespect for it but because music needs to be recreated otherwise it will die. My music is a dialogue between old traditions and new ones,” said Rosaly.

As the band grew, so did their resolve to make their music their own despite early criticism. Now that the band is more established, the confidence they exude when they play together is apparent, and that togetherness comes across as they transitioned from song to song.

Rosaly, through his music, speaks to a new generation that is more accepting of change and that is more open to the sweet sounds of Todos de Pie!. It is with that acceptance that makes the band and their interaction with the audience one that is timeless and memorable.

As the band continued their set, their intensity never wavered and only grew stronger as the crowd demanded more. The crowd’s enthusiasm was synonymous with the passion of the musicians.

Todos de Pie! is not your mother’s traditional Bomba, it’s a refreshing take on the classic genre. And by introducing a new sound to an audience who might have never heard of Bomba over the weekend, Rosaly successfully linked old and new and helped blur racial and generational boundaries.

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