José Ortiz aka “Dr. Drum”, a Bronx native, is a self-taught percussionist of Afro Caribbean rhythms. He is an advocate for the cultural arts and has been active as an organizer and educator of Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba, a traditional African derived music and art form.
For the past 13 years, he has taught at numerous after-school programs throughout NYC. He has developed original curricula for teaching percussion to young people. Dr. Drum has received professional teaching artist training through the Brooklyn Arts Council, Bronx Council On the Arts, City Lore and the Union Square Award professional development program. He has co-chaired a committee and presented for the Bomba Research Conference.
Presently, he is co founder and musical director of BombaYo Afro-Puerto Rican Youth Project. Dr. Drum’s work helps youth members develop a strong sense of identity and responsibility through actively exploring their cultural roots. Dr. Drum’s engaging style encourages children and adults to explore their own musicality. He sees this art form as a vehicle for self-discipline, cultural affirmation, and healing. In doing this work he seeks to bring awareness and appreciation of the contributions of the African Diaspora in the Americas.
José Ortiz was born in St. Vincent’s Hospital. Since the age of 4 he was raised in the Bronx. His parents “both from Caguas, Puerto Rico”. Today José Ortiz is known as “Dr. Drum” and is an independent full-time community artist advocating for Puerto Rican culture to it’s fullest capacity. Most recently, Dr. Drum shared his musical talent on a CD album track “2011” with Corbin Bleu and William Cepeda, entitled “Our Deepest Fear”.
Today he is most proud of his latest founding project since September 2010 “Los Robles de Casabe” a senior citizen program designed for people of all ages to learn the Afro-Puerto Rican tradition of Bomba. Dr. Drum has received numerous Awards “Proclamation, Declaration and Recognition” from local politicians and community organizations for serving the Bronx and Brooklyn. Today his work continues to grow throughout the NY metro area and has been recognized as an ambassador of the Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba.