This name is nothing more than the conjugation of two words from African dialects. Yoruba is the name given to an extensive territory in southern Africa, inhabited by several nations and consequently their cultures. The word Andabo, in Carabalí language, means: friend, follower, admirer. Therefore, “Yoruba Andabo”, seeks to be something like “the friends, the admirers and followers of the yoruba lands and their cultures.”
This group had its genesis in the Havana Docks where, in 1961, a group of workers met and created what was known then as “Guaguancó Marítimo Portuario.” When they became professional, the group was re-baptized “YORUBA ANDABO” when, in 1986, they started working in a series of activities for and with the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC). These activities were organized by Cuban poet Eloy “The Ambia” Machado, who put the group in contact with singer and composer Pablo Milanés, who invited them to participate in the celebrations for the 25th Anniversary of the record company EGREM. From that moment on they started carrying out important work with folk singer Merceditas Valdés. In 1994, as they stepped into a new working stage, they adopted the name Folkloric Company YORUBA ANDABO.
The company is made up of seventeen artists, including singers, percussionists and dancers, and professionally performs the most important genres of both religious and profane music within the Africans roots of Cuban culture. This work includes:
• Congo Cycle where they do the three types of Palo, Makuta and Yuca singing, with instruments such as the Mula, Cachimbo and Caja drums, including the use of the Catá and the Aggogo.
• Yoruba Cycle ranging from singings and prayers, working with the Bata drums orchestra and the Chequeré, to the profane type of “Bembé” or “Güiro”, all of them with the Oricha dances such as: Elegguá, Oggún, Obbatalá, Yemayá, Babalú, Changó and Oyá.
• Abakuá Cycle including the liturgical singing and prayers, with the complex execution of the Tankomo drums and the colorful dances of the Iremes or “little devils”, symbolizing the spirit of the dead.
• The Rumba Cycle with this cycle YORUBA ANDABO specializes in rescuing the traditional rhythms as the Yambú, the Guaguancó, and the Columbia, performing them with the original instruments.
The company also offers workshops and seminars on Folkloric Percussion, Folk Dances and singing, Popular Percussion and Popular Dances. These educational activities are carried out by well known specialists who are members of our staff.
YORUBA ANDABO has performed on important national and international stages, such as the Mella, Karl Marx, América, Amadeo Roldán and Nacional Theaters; and the Tropicana, Capri, Parisién and Copa Room Night Clubs in Cuba, the Colón Theater in Colombia, the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, ad the Aaron David Hall in New York City; they have participated in such important events as the Rumba Festivals, The Percussion Festivals (PERCUBA) and Golden Boleros in the island, the World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) in Canada, The International Arts Festival of Costa Rica, and the 15th Annual Expression International Festival in the United States, in the Tajin Summit 2001 Festival in Veracruz and in the 8th International Afro Caribbean Festival. They have also shared stages with personalities as Tata Güines, Pablo Milanés, Puntillita, Joe Arroyo, Celeste Mendoza, National Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Leo Brower, Lázaro Ros, Gonzalito Rubalcava and the Niche Band, Olodum Group, Oaxaca´s Dancing Devils, among others. Yoruba Andabo won the Latin Grammy Award in 2001, in the Folkloric Music Category, for its participation in the CD “La Rumba Soy Yo”, and was finalist at Latin Grammy Award in 2006, in the Folkloric Music Category, for its participation in the CD “Rumba en La Habana con…”