Bembé is a community-based, cultural performing arts program in the city of Milwaukee that inspires music and performance skills, intergenerational connection and cultural identity exploration through Afro-Latino culture.
Established in 2015 by a school parent seeking more positive, experience-based arts education that centered the African cultural lineage of Latinos, Bembé was created with local educators and musicians to bring traditional Afro-Latino percussion traditions, and later dance, to school-aged, primarily Latino youth. While many remarkable programs exist for African-American youth to celebrate African heritage, there was a need for accessible opportunities for Latino children to connect to Black culture as a source of pride within their heritage, and for generations of the Latino community to learn and experience this a well.
Now in its 5th year, Bembé’s school based and community programs, intergenerational workshops, music as therapy, and community performances have attracted thousands of youth, parents and community members. Bembé’s talented educators are experts in the field, and personally represent various cultures and traditions throughout Latino America. Bembé’s annual study abroad program allows families to explore Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba and history in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and notable local and international guest artists collaborate with Bembé for widely attended community performances throughout the year in Milwaukee.
Bembé is a community-based cultural arts organization, supported by Milwaukee families and the visionary investment of partnering community organizations and like-minded schools.