Bata y Bembe de Matanzas I: la presentación de un Iyawo de Chango

July 21, 2016 - Comment

Experience the power of Matanzas-style Orisha music as performed by Alfredo Calvo (one of the most knowledgeable and talented Afro-Cuban folkloric singers alive today) and his Aña Oba Tola. The CD also presents, for the first time, the incredible sound of the sacred Lukumi Bembe Makagua, which were made in the early 20th century as

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Experience the power of Matanzas-style Orisha music as performed by Alfredo Calvo (one of the most knowledgeable and talented Afro-Cuban folkloric singers alive today) and his Aña Oba Tola. The CD also presents, for the first time, the incredible sound of the sacred Lukumi Bembe Makagua, which were made in the early 20th century as war drums for the Orisha Chango. The drums are hot and Alfredo’s singing is amazing. A must have for all lovers of Orisha music!

The CD is structured around the presentation of a newly initiated priest of Chango, the warrior Orisha of thunder and lightening. In Havana and the United States, such a presentation is a rather cursory affair, but in Matanzas it is the way in which the new priest is presented to the community as well as the drums, and it is an elaborate event. The priest is dressed in the full satin regalia of his or her Orisha, ceremoniously brought out from his throne to be paraded before the community and then presented to the drums. Then the community joins in, singing and dancing as the akpon (lead singer) and the Aña drummers play praise songs to each of the main Orishas. To experience a presentation like this first-hand, please see Kabiosile’s DVD “Vamos al Tambor: Presentations in Matanzas, Cuba,” also available through Amazon.com.

In addition to the traditional Aña drumming and praise songs, this CD also includes a track of never-before-recorded Lukumi Bembe Makagua drums, which were made as war drums for Chango in the early 20th century. These drums, which are similar to Arara bembe drums, are upright (as opposed to the hourglass across-the-lap style of Aña and bata drums) and are played with sticks (and, in the case of the main drums, one hand and one stick). Alfredo Calvo was present at the birth of the Makagua drums. In recent years, he has created a drumming innovation of bringing in the Bembe drums to play along with the Aña, then switching the entire tambor to Bembe. The sound is unique and powerful. Whatever Orishas didn’t come down to join the party before are sure to arrive as soon as the crowd and drums break into “Marele Okuo,” which means “Something new has been born.” It is an experience not to be missed (and Kabiosile is planning a new DVD to capture and share it with you)!

Comments

TMC says:

One of the three essential Bata recordings

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