Kevin R. Diaz
Founder and Executive Director of Movimiento Cultural
Kevin R. Diaz - Founder and Director of Movimiento Cultural Afro-Continental (MCAC), Inc. Kevin was the former director and event coordinator of the FLECHAS, Inc. a non-profit organization from 1976 to 2012. FLECHAS help a three day weekend festival at New Haven Long Wharf with live music, arts and crafts, food vendors and amusement rides which generated over a hundred thousand dollars in economic activity to the area. During that time Kevin was also the artistic director for a folkloric ensemble called Folclorico Bohio Dance Troupe, a Bomba dance and music group with 25-30 young students and adults presenting workshops and performing throughout the tri-state area in festivals and civic events. Kevin has a long history and community connection with the New Haven, and has served in various leadership capacities such as former alder for the 15th Ward. Since 2014, he has served as a board of police commissioner for New Haven. Kevin has collaborated with many master artists in public presentations and workshops and has received various awards and recognitions by local civic organizations. Kevin has EMBA/MPA from the University of New Haven and is currently employed by the State Judicial Regional Children’s Probate Court for the past 15 years
Dancer and Singer
Dance Instructor & Performer
Jessica is a third generation family member of bomba practitioners from Guayama, Puerto Rico. Her grandfather is Don Miguel Flores, a renowned bomba dancer who continues to participate in events throughout the island at his ninety plus years of age. Jessica’s father, “Jose Ñeco Flores” is also a prominent bomba dancer and composer who accompanies many bomba groups and is also founder of his own group called “Grupo Tradicion”. Jessica was raised in New Haven, and started dancing bomba at the young age of 10 with FLECHAS. She relocated to Puerto Rico in 2010, and was very active in bomba events mastering all bomba rhythms. Jessica returned to Connecticut in 2016, and has been with MCAC since then.
Alex is from the town of Loiza, Puerto Rico. He is one of the principal percussionists in Movimiento Cultural. He has been drumming from a very early age, having taken classes with Master drummer Tico Fuentes. He was also influenced by watching the performances of the Ayala brothers. He has continued his passion into performing for Movimiento Cultural. Sometimes he even dances! He has distinguished himself with advanced knowledge of the various Bomba rhythms. Alex has been living in New Haven for five years.
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.
Carlos is now a resident of New Haven, having relocated from Puerto Rico in 2003.
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 drums, every now and then you will see her dancing in the Batey.
Naomy Velez is a New Haven resident whose family hails from Camuy, Puerto Rico. She is a student at Southern Connecticut State University. She began to dance the bomba at age 6 and is one of the principal dancers at Movimiento Cultural.
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.”
Like her twin sister Naomy, Natasha comes from Camuy, Puerto Rico. She also began dancing the bomba at age 6: “bomba became of interest to me because the sound of the drum became the rhythm of my heart. To be able to express my emotions with the sound of the drums became a powerful feeling.” She is a principal dancer at Movimiento Cultural. When she is not dancing, she is a student at Southern Connecticut State
Addys Maria Castillo
Addys Maria Castillo is a lifelong resident of the New Haven area. This mother of 3 serves as the Executive Director of the Citywide Youth Coalition, Inc. by day and Bombera with Movimiento Cultural by night. She's been dancing for over 29 years and
in October 2019 she made her theatric debut as Yuiza. in La Negra: A Bomba Musical at Yale University. Addys is an aspiring bodybuilder and an Anti-Racist Organizer/Core Trainer with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond.