Carlos Aldama's Life in Batá: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum by Umi Vaughan

By Umi Vaughan

Batá identifies either the two-headed, hourglass-shaped drum of the Yoruba humans and the tradition and magnificence of drumming, making a song, and dancing linked to it. This publication recounts the existence tale of Carlos Aldama, one of many masters of the batá drum, and during that tale lines the background of batá tradition because it traveled from Africa to Cuba after which to the us. For the enslaved Yoruba, batá rhythms helped maintain the non secular and cultural practices of a people who have been torn from its roots. Aldama, as mother or father of Afro-Cuban track and as a Santería priest, keeps the hyperlink with this custom solid via his mentor Jesus Pérez (Oba Ilu), who was once himself the relationship to the preserved oral historical past of the older iteration. by means of sharing his tales, Aldama and his scholar Umi Vaughan convey to mild the suggestions and rules of batá in all its points and record the tensions of protecting a convention among generations and worlds, previous and new. The publication contains infrequent photos and entry to downloadable audio tracks.

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There was this one big dude, bigger than me, who used to dance for Yemayá. When you would see him coming you’d have to get ready, because he took all day to get mounted. They called him the fan man (abaniquito a real) because he always danced with a little ten-cent fan. You would keep your eye on him throughout the whole party. When he started to gesture with the fan is when you knew he was close. The singer has to do the same thing. Hunt the santeros. Because this is a contraversia, a clash. You give something, I take it, and give back.

And they’re not even from Matanzas; they’ve spent only a few days there.  . I don’t know how to play Matanzas style. ” No disrespect, but to hell with Matanzas! ) They have their gifts and so do we in Havana. Te achi ng There are different kinds of students. There are students who get frustrated and angry with themselves when they can’t get something. There are other students who don’t learn because they don’t study; they’d rather hang out and play around. These last ones I cut off. “Don’t bother to come back, chico,” I tell them.

But there is not that strong sense of identification with the different batteries: “I am a drummer of so-andso” (fulano). Let’s study, Umi. I’ll teach you what Jesús taught me. Let’s go. But it’s not that I want you to fight with anyone or separate yourself.  . for you to use now, in your own way, in these circumstances. Tomorrow, as omo Añá, anywhere you go out there, they will ask who taught you. And I’m not the best. But I am a drummer, yo sí soy tambolero. I sacrificed a lot (me jodí mucho).

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