Brussels, Oct 15 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Culture Day in Belgium will be dedicated to jazz, a musical genre in which many musicians from the Caribbean nation have made relevant contributions.
Belgians, Latin Americans and Cubans will gather on Sunday in an event convened by the Cuban Embassy in Brussels, as part of the festivities that will last for two weeks in this country to show the variety and values of Cuban culture.
In a weekend dedicated to music, Saturday’s event was dedicated to rumba, a musical and dance genre that was included this year in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Cuban Ambassador to Belgium Norma Goicochea stated that rumba is an example of Cuba’s cultural wealth and traditional expressions, a rhythm that has been a legacy transmitted from generation to generation.
For the past decade, Trinidadian Oloye Esabenjo Efag Oriyomi Orisagbemi has brought the Obatala Festival to the people of Trinidad., and this year’s celebration took place on the 7th of January . As usual there was a street procession, a carrying of the symbol of Obatala through the streets of the Ita Osa to spread the blessings of Peace and Tranquility to One and ALL.
The procession is sometimes accompanied by a police detail , Orisa visitations and other energies of the ritual are part of the festival.
The first gem of this series is a group called Yoruba Andabo (Rough translation: Followers of the Yoruba Culture) who have been on the Cuban Music Scene for a while now and are important pioneers in popularizing Rumba rhythms. Rumba is an Afro-Cuban rhythm that’s been around for generations now was often considered a more traditional sound that the youth didn’t really interact with as much. Yoruba Andabo has changed that in Cuba, these days you can ask any 17 year-old if they have Yoruba Andabo on their mp3 and they’ll probably reply that they have every album. Don’t get me wrong they in no way altered the original rhythms to satisfy the younger crowds if anything I think it’s just the thriving energy and relevant lyrics that brought people of all ages to feel connected with their sound.
My favorite track right now is La Gozadera, which was the first piece my brother introduced me to. It honestly doesn’t matter where I am, what I’m doing or who I’m with, if you put on that track my heart automatically starts to follow the beating of the drums, the voices grip my guts, my hips are swaying and my body is taking shapes I never knew existed. You know how they say that real happiness comes after hard times, that’s exactly what this track feels like to me; the blazing sun after the storm. If you struggled in your life you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Be sure to search for more of their stuff online, it’s a little harder to encounter than most but well worth the effort.
Geovani del Pino Rodríguez, 74 años, La Habana, accidente cerebrovascular. Gran cultor de la rumba afrocubana. Cantante, percusionista, compositor y director del grupo Yoruba Andabo.
The Healing Power of San Lazaro
December 17th is the Feast of San Lazaro. This saint is associated with the Orisha Babalu Aye in the La Regla Lucumi (Santeria) tradition. Michael Atwood Mason on the Smithsonian.com blog writes of this king “in the African-inspired religious tradition known as Santería …, Babalú-Ayé is both feared and beloved. Thought to be responsible for bringing epidemics like smallpox, leprosy and AIDS, Babalú-Ayé also cures these diseases. Oricha elders tell of his exile from his homeland with the Lucumí because he spread smallpox among them…. They tell of his journey to the Arará, who were healed by him and ultimately made him their king.”
Babalu Aye is the God of sickness, of infectious disease, and consequently of healing. His name has been translated as the “king who hurts the world.” Babalu Aye is worshiped under many different names. His name is Sonponno among the Yoruba, and Sakpata or Sagbata among the Fon of West Africa. Some believe his name is so sacred it is not to be spoken.
Babalu Aye performs miracles and transformational healings. This video from Yoruba Andabo tells of this Orisha’s great power.
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Traveling Noire: Cuba Comes ‘Alive’ 3:31
When the United States and Cuba first announced plans to restore diplomatic relations two years ago, Kasara E. Davidson says she and her business partner “hit the ground running” and used their combined 20 years of experience with the island to start Diaspora Enterprise Solutions (DiasporaES).
“It was an opportunity for us to learn Cuba even more and an opportunity for us to share what we know about Cuba with others,” said Davidson, who is the company’s co-owner and managing director.
The East Coast based business creates professional, educational and cultural programs for individuals, groups and organizations in cities around the world.
Since its founding about a year and a half ago, DiasporaES has focused mainly on Cuba— successfully taking several groups to the island under several of 12 permitted categories that have made it easier for more Americans to travel there.
Three backup dancers pose for a photo pose for a shot on their break in Havana, Cuba. Mikhael Simmonds
With the d
Cuba Aspires to Include Rumba at UNESCO Heritage List
Paris, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuba is expecting UNESCO to include ”rumba” in its list – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, during the forthcoming meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on the issue, diplomatic sources said today.
According to the information provided to Prensa Latina by the Havana delegation at UNESCO, the event scheduled from November 28th to December 2nd in Ethiopia will decide on the inclusion of rumba as ‘a festive mixture of music and dance, and associated practices’.
UNESCO recognizes the value of rumba as an expressive style of music and dance that rests on forms of verbal communication (vocal singing and sounds) and non-verbal communication (gestures and body language).
Practiced in family circles, with neighbors and in communities in festive and religious events, rumba ‘mixes tradition and contemporaneity and promotes feelings of self-esteem and belonging among its practitioners,’ the text says.
‘It also brings together individuals of all sexes, social class, geographical origin or religious beliefs, reinforcing social cohesion, mutual respect and favoring harmonious relationships between individuals and communities.’
‘It highlights the diverse origin of rumba, with African, Spanish and African-Caribbean roots, which helps promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.’
The 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will begin in Addis Ababa in late November. It will analyze Cuba’s candidacy and other proposals from many countries.
If we want to talk about the popular traditions of Cuban music, we have to talk about Yoruba Andabo.
This musical group is an example of versatility and authenticity in the representation of Cuban musical diversity.
“Working and create, that’s what we lose sleep. I think that we only end with the death. You can see that every Cuban will move his foot when he hears a Cuban conga”. – Geovani del Pino, Director
Among the hierarchies of Afro-Cuban music, Yoruba Andabo enjoys a special sovereignty in and outside of Cuba. The first seed that gave life to this group was sown in 1961 at the docks of Havana, the birthplace of legendary rumberos. The group’s name combines two words: Yoruba, the great southern motherland of African nations and cultures, and Andabo, which in the Carabalí language means friend, follower, or admirer.
Through their work, the group has imposed a distinctive hallmark, and even more challenging, they have found style in purity. The goal that drives the efforts of Yoruba Andabo is the libertarian incorporation of everything that surrounds, adorns, and approximates tradition, absent of vice or purist digressions.
No other group could have achieved such brilliance and cohesion in presenting this view of our singable and danceable physiognomy: chants, devotion, dance, and the beauty of life. Here hot, sensual rumba, guaguancó, toque de santo, song, Abakuá and Congolese chants, and communication with the dead converge. They signify the pieces of history of a country forged in a melting pot of races and encounters with other cultures.