Darnel Davila: 17 Year Old Drummer with Dreams of Dispensing Puerto Rican Culture Throughout Buffalo and Beyond

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Darnel Davila is a 17 year old highschool senior who has without a doubt already left his mark on the Buffalo community, and beyond, through his passion for and talent of playing the drums. Darnel serves as a drumming co-instructor at El Batey Puerto Rican Center, located in Buffalo, New York. El Batey is a cultural center whose mission is to empower and honor Puerto Rican history and culture. They offer various dance, music, and martial arts programs at the center in which many young people can become involved in. Darnel embodies El Batey’s mission completely as he is a young person in Buffalo who is making a difference in the lives of the students he teaches drumming to, as well as the Buffalo community through his love for music, dedication to El Batey, and devotion to sharing Puerto Rican culture through drumming as well.

Darnel first came to Buffalo from Puerto Rico due to Hurricane María, which he reflected was a very big and devastating event to go through. After facing the adversity of living through a natural disaster and coming to Buffalo, Darnel became involved at El Batey. He shared, “El Batey gave me a space to be and improve on my drumming”. He is now an assistant teacher for drumming alongside El Batey’s founder, Beatriz Flores. Darnel enjoys being a part of a larger community who share the same love for Puerto Rico’s oldest musical tradition known as Bomba. 

Darnel is inspired by all of the hard work and practice that he and all the other drummers put in. He is especially motivated when they get to develop their skills as percussionists, grasp challenging notes and arrangements, and near perfection as this motivates them to try more complex ones next, continuing to build upon their latest accomplishments. 

Darnel realized that the work he was doing and the music he was performing was impacting and reaching others even outside of the Buffalo community about two years ago. He came to this realization when he traveled to Puerto Rico to participate in the largest Bomba festival called “Encuentro de Tambores”. He reflected that being able to go to this event was a transformative experience in which he improved his drumming skills, communication skills, and ability to meet and connect with others. He said, “It gave me a kind of freedom”. This year he joined the event with a larger group of fellow El Batey drummers, dancers, and singers and had the opportunity to participate alongside 300 plus percussionists at the Concha Acústica Frankie Ruiz in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Darnel urges other young people, “Don’t be scared to express your feelings, just be who you are and show what you’re good at”.

The post Darnel Davila: 17 Year Old Drummer with Dreams of Dispensing Puerto Rican Culture Throughout Buffalo and Beyond appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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