Meet The Team
CIMARRON/CIMARRONES – DEFINITION
Cimarrón/ cimarrónes: “esclavo indio o negro que, individual o colectivamente, se rebeló contra el estado de servidumbre y opresión a que fue sometido por su amo.” (Esteban Deive, 1989)
Cimarron/ cimarrónes - "Indian or black slave who, individually or collectively, rebelled against the state of servitude and against the state of servitude and oppression to which he was subjected by his master." (Esteban Deive, 1989)
Source: Melissa Reyes Segarra, “Cimarronaje y violencia en el Puerto Rico del Siglo XIX” Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Programa Graduado de Historia
Carlos Cruz is originally from the town of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. He grew up with the sounds of the bomba – his great grandmother, Petronila Guibele was a bomba dancer, and his grandfather was a bomba drummer. He began drumming at the age of 15.
A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Carlos has since distinguished himself as a renowned poet, singer, bomba drummer and artisan. He is recognized and registered with the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture as an Afro-Antillean poet and a poet of “el verso negro” (black poetry). He is also known as a master artisan who makes a variety of Puerto Rican musical instruments, including the cuatro, cua, barril and marinbola.
Kica Matos hails from the coastal town of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. She is a longtime social justice and immigrant rights advocate and serves as the Vice President of Initiatives at the Vera Institute of Justice. Her passion and dedication for justice are fueled by her love of the arts, and bomba in particular. While she is usually behind the Barril (drum), every now and then you will see her dancing in the batey.
Natasha Gisel Aguilar Velez is one of Proyecto Cimarron's principal dancers. She was born in New Haven and is of Puerto Rican descent - her family is originally from the town of Camuy. She began to dance the bomba at age 5 with the group Flechas under the tutelage of Sarai Ayala. She attended John Martinez, graduated from Sound School and then attended Gateway Community College. Currently, she works as a Medical Assistant at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Natasha's commitment and talent to bomba has led her to travel outside of the U.S. In 2012 she was crowned Miss Latina of CT - her talent test included dancing the bomba. The award gave her the opportunity to travel to Peru. She loves to travel, and regularly goes back to Puerto Rico in order to learn more about her island and its history.
Monica "Cuqui" Matos
Born in San Juan Puerto Rico, Monica lived in Puerto Rico until the age of ten and spent the rest of her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago, the Fiji Islands and Washington D.C. While growing up in Puerto Rico she dabbled with piano and sometimes a pandereta, and in Trinidad took up the Venezuelan cuatro and classical guitar due to parental pressure. Since college her musical endeavors had been limited to spectating and appreciating, and her musical tastes run the gamut from classical, salsa, reggae, r and b, funk, and of course bomba. Currently splitting her time between New York City and New Haven, she has been stricken with Bomba fever and loves interpreting the bomba beats on the cua.
Addys Maria Castillo is a lifelong resident of New Haven. She is the Executive Director of Citywide Youth Coalition, an organization that builds youth power through education, leadership development and anti-racist community organizing. This mother of 3 is also an Anti-Racist Organizer/Core Trainer with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. For over three decades, she has been steeped in dance, with styles ranging from West African to hip hop and modern dance. As a bombera you might find her behind the mic, singing or dancing or playing the drums. She has also been composing original music.
Naomy Velez is a New Haven resident whose family hails from Camuy, Puerto Rico. She began to dance the bomba at age 6 and is one of the principal dancers of Proyecto Cimarrón. Reflecting on the bomba, she shared that “bomba has taught me that it doesn’t matter the color of our skin or where we come from, we come together as one. Dancing bomba shows us that we can all share joy and happiness.” Naomy works in internal medicine as a Registered Medical Assistant at Yale New Haven Health.
Asher Delerme is one of CT’s most versatile and accomplished percussionists. He is also a Cultural arts educator, clinician, administrator and master drummer, occupying both worlds as a professional musician and clinical social worker/administrator with equal proficiency. He is a founding member of the world beat/Salsa band, MIKATA (All of Us) and has recorded with numerous jazz and world music ensembles. As a performer, Delerme has toured the United States, the Caribbean, Canada and Asia, and played at Carnegie Hall on multiple occasions. Since 2005, he has been a principal member of Yucca Yeke Maguay, a musical ensemble that honors the first people of the Caribbean. In addition to being a member of Proyecto Cimarrón, Asher also performs with the Suso/Glass Quartet, a collaboration between legendary kora player Foday Musa Suso and world-renowned composer Philip Glass.
Davis Calderon is a Waterbury, Connecticut resident originally from Dorado, Puerto Rico. He is a retired Waterbury firefighter. He co-directed Orquesta Optima and Brass City Mambo of Waterbury. He has performed with many area salsa bands over the years as well as done West African Drumming. He has also performed with Unity Dance Ensemble, Pride Cultural Center, Flechas, Movimiento Cultural and Son Del Barrio.