What are Puerto Rican bombas?

Puerto Rico bombas are crafty rhymes narrated in parrandas

If you haven’t seen a bomba session yet, here is the complete description.  Bombas allude to love, funny, or crafty situations.  The bomba session starts when the parranda musicians play an intro music then all proceed to say Bomba!!! This is the cue that tells participants that anyone can recite a bomba.

Puerto Rican bomba jokes

Bombas about funny situations may start with “Ayer pasé por tu casa y me tiraste…” (in English, “Yesterday, I stopped by your house and you threw me….”). Crafty bombas may start with “Una vieja y un viejito estaban…” (in English, “An old woman and an old men were…”). If the parranda participants like the bomba, everyone will sing:

La bomba ay que rica es.
Me sube el ritmo por los pies.
Mulato, saca tu trigueña,
‘pa que bailes bomba, bomba puertorriqueña.

In English,

La bomba, how rich it is!
The rhythm crawls through my feet
Mulatto, invite your trigueña*
To dance bomba, Puerto Rican bomba.

(*trigueña is a light dark-skinned woman)

If parranda participants don’t like the rhymes (because it doesn’t rhyme or is not funny enough, then they proceed to sing:

No sabe na, no sabe na.
No sabe na de bomba, no sabe na.

In English,

Doesn’t know anything, doesn’t anything.
Doesn’t know anything about bomba, doesn’t anything.

Then the music intro starts again.

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