Segunda Quimbamba

Rosa Cartagena

Rosa Cartagena is a lead drummer, dancer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist from Jersey City who has performed with Segunda Quimbamba since she was about 4 years old, thanks to her parents, SQFC executive director Juan Cartagena and director of development and education Nanette Hernandez. Now 25 years later, Rosa lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a reporter covering arts and culture for The Philadelphia Inquirer, but she joins the ensemble onstage and occasionally in classes when she’s back home. During her time with SQFC, she has performed in Puerto Rico, Spain, Barbados, and across the tristate area.

Most recently, she completed SQFC’s primo drumming training intensive. As a queer Boricua in the diaspora, she’s honored to practice Bomba y Plena and celebrate their historical roots in storytelling — Plena’s origins as a singing newspaper was an inspiration to her journalism career — and resistance to oppression, racism, and colonization that continues to this day. She’s most excited for these artforms to keep expanding and experimenting to shatter traditional gender roles and make way for an increasingly inclusive, queer, and intersectional future in the diaspora and on the archipelago.