Kabiosile Productions releases two of the most invigorating illustrations of orisha music and life to come out of Matanzas since Lydia Cabrera’s and Josefina Tarafa’s 1950’s recordings recently released by the Smithsonian Institute. The religious practices of Matanzas differ greatly from those of Havana. Olorishas in the primarily Havana-centric Lukumí Diaspora, unfamiliar with these variations, will appreciate these recordings that will permit a bird’s eye view into a familiar but distinctive Lukumí world, with a flavor all its own.

The listener (or viewer) will be immediately transported the town of Simpson, a close but distant world that has been called the heart of Africa in Matanzas, where life has changed little since time immemorial. In Simpson, the cultures of numerous African ethnic groups permeates the air. On any given day, walking the streets of the small town, one can hear batá, bembé, Egbado, or Yesá drums resonate on one block, Arará drums half way down the street, and bantú drumming on the following corner. Africa and her offspring burgeon in Simpson.

This CD and DVD are sure to become valuable contributors to the documentation and preservation of Lukumí religious music and traditions for all time. Do not miss out on your opportunity to own these one-of-a-kind historical collector’s items. Buy them today!

Bata y Bembe de Matanzas I: La Presentación de un Iyawo de Chango
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 Añá Obá Tolá. The CD also presents, for the first time, the incredible sound of the sacred Lukumi Bembé 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!

Alfredo Calvo is the last surviving omorisha of Ferminita Gomez, Osha Bí, a Yoruba ex-slave who founded one of the most important branches of the Afro-Cuban religion popularly known as Santeria. Calvo, who just turned 73, was crowned a priest of Agayu by Ferminita when he was 12 and she was 102. It was foretold during his initiation that he would be the person to carry on the traditions of her house—and that he certainly has done. Hundreds of godchildren and many sets of Aña have been born in his house (including the first set of Aña ever brought to the United States, by Francisco Aguabella), and he has taught dozens of drummers, singers, and priests of the religion.
“Fifty years from now, this will be considered one of the most important recordings to come out of Matanzas,” says Michael Spiro, master drummer.

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Vamos al Tambor, volume 1: Presentations in Matanzas, Cuba
“Three Changos” is the presentation of three new initiates or priests to the sacred drums, known as Aña. It documents the traditional Matanzas style of presentation to the drums: the “kings” or “queens” are dressed in luxurious garments in the colors of their Orishas, and a complete sequence of praise songs is played and sung (as opposed to the cursory Havana style presentation in which only the initiate’s crowning Orisha is played to). The three Iyawos in this presentation (two men and a woman) were all “born” on the same day from the same Padrino’s Chango.

Alfredo Calvo is akpon (lead singer) and calls the Orishas down to Earth in his inimitable style (just the part where he sings to Chango is worth the price of the DVD). He is accompanied by three of his finest drummers and members of the Santeria community of Matanzas.

“Wonderful DVD….This is a very rare glimpse into the private religious practices of Santeria in Matanzas, and done with great respect. Excellent quality…. Highly recommended.”
Bruce Polin, Descarga.com

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