Bomberxs De'Cora of La Escuelita Bombera de Corazon

La Escuelita Bombera de Corazón was established in November 2009 by Ivelisse “Bombera de Corazón” Díaz. As an African and Puerto Rican diasporic performing arts school, La Escuelita is committed to the preservation of Bomba percussion (buleo, maraca, cúa), dance (baile), vocals (canto), and history. Investing in the historic Humboldt Park Puerto Rican Community yet with a global reach through virtual class options, La Escuelita continues to teach and protect the fundamental elements of the Afro-Puerto Rican through basic, intermediate, and advanced courses structured around the genre’s rhythms. 

Students of La Escuelita Bombera de Corazón have unique access to top bomberxs, historians, song writers, families, instrument crafters, and community organizers of Bomba. Through virtual lectures and La Escuelita’s annual “De Paseo con La Escuelita” immersion course to Puerto Rico, students are ignited with passion for cultural preservation, resistance, and empowerment. La Escuelita’s learning objectives in this regard are to educate students on the bomberx community that created space for organizations like La Escuelita to exist, while challenging them to be active defenders and contributors within the tradition of Bomba. 

With a vision at the intersection of art education and social justice, La Escuelita Bombera De Corazón’s bombastic pedagogy forms in-person and virtual sessions into a batey of embodied learning, reciprocity, healing, and remembrance in the spirit of Bomba’s Black liberation struggle.

Ivelisse “Bombera de Corazón” Diaz was born and raised in Humboldt Park, the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. At the young age of five, she began studying Bomba under the mentorship of her beloved uncle Eli S. Rodriguez, a founding member of Chicago’s first Bomba and Plena collective Group Yuba. Soon after, Ivelisse was performing as a member of Yubitas, Grupo Yuba’s premier youth offshoot. Her thunderous yet melodic vocals would cause fourteen-year-old Ivelisse to be a lead vocalist on Yuba’s Chicago Sabe a Bomba y Plena album. Continuing the legacy of Grupo Yuba, Ivelisse is a founding member and lead vocalist of Bomba con Buya and director of the all women assemble Las BomPleneras. Additionally, as a soloist, she debuted her first Latin House track “Rosalina” at the Chicago House Music Festival in 2016 and was a Musical Consultant and Lead Vocalist for Nickelodeon’s cartoon series “Santiago of the Seas” in 2019.

In 2009, La Escuelita Bombera De Corazon was founded out of Ivelisse’s commitment to Black and Indigenous art education and her first-hand experiences of Bomba’s revolutionary power. Based in Chicago yet carrying a global presence, La Escuelita provides classes and workshops covering Bomba percussion (buleo, maraca, cúa), dance (baile), vocals (cantó), and history. With a vision at the intersection of art education and social justice,  La Escuelita Bombera De Corazon’s bombastic pedagogy forms in-person and virtual sessions into a batey of embodied learning, reciprocity, healing, and remembrance.

For her unique artistry, educational expertise, and community organizing, Ivelisse Diaz was  awarded the Make a Wave grant in 2017 and the prestigious 3Arts Award in 2019. Almost 30 years since her first day of class with her Tio Eli, Ivelisse chooses to encounter the drum daily as a student, creative artist, community organizer, proud Boricua de Chicago, and most importantly, a mother to her dearest daughter Amaya.