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Presentations in Matanzas, Cuba

Released by Kabiosile.

DVD: 90 minutes

“Vamos al Tambor: Presentations in Matanzas, Cuba” is a DVD of approximately 1.5 hours in length. It includes two separate Lucumi Santeria presentations, both of which were recorded live at the home of Alfredo Calvo in Matanzas.

?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.

“Aña” is the presentation of newly consecrated sacred drums to the community. Alfredo Calvo and his son Alberto are akpons and Toribio Garcia, one of the hottest young drummers in Matanzas today, plays Iya (the “mother” drum). Watching Toribio play drum-to-drum with the newly born Iya as he transfers the spirit of Aña is simply amazing. The presentation of new Aña drums is a rare event in Cuba, no less in the US, as very few sets of sacred drums are consecrated anywhere. The first set of Aña drums ever brought to the US, by Francisco Aguabella, were born at Alfredo Calvo’s.

Bruce Polin of Descarga.com, the most respected and popular Internet site for Latin music, has chosen “Vamos al Tambor” as an Editor’s Pick. He says, “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.”

Willie Ramos, a well-known Santero and author, writes on his site Eleda.org, “Kabiosile Productions [has released] 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…. This DVD and CD are sure to become valuable contributors to the documentation and preservation of Lukumí religious music and traditions for all time.

And according to FolkCuba.com, “Vamos al Tambor” beautifully captures two Matanzas Lucumi events never before documented….Spirits and emotions are high, and the drumming is dramatic.”

The DVD is an excellent complement to the CD “Bata y Bembe de Matanzas” (which also includes a complete cycle of praise songs to the Orishas) because it gives the viewer the opportunity to experience actual presentations as they occur in Matanzas, Cuba. And, because the camera filmed from behind the drummers, you get a better view than you would have gotten if you had actually been there!

We have several clips from the DVD available here, in a variety of formats. The highest quality takes a long time to download over a modem (up to 30 or 40 minutes), so if you have a slow connection, choose one of the lower-quality samples.

MPEG 4 - requires Quicktime 6 and a fairly recent computer, but is the best quality.

MOV - requires Quicktime (older versions will work), and is good quality.

WMV - requires Windows Media Player


Three Changos
  1. The Iyawos are presented to the community
2. The Iyawos are presented to the sacred drums (Aña)
3. Ochosi
4. Inle
5. Babaluaye
6. Korinkoto
7. Orishaoko
8. Dada
9. Ibejis
10. Agayu
11. Obatala
12. Yewa
13. Obba
14. Oya
15. Yemaya
16. Oshun
17. Orula — View clip
18. Chango
19. Close
1. The new sacred drums are presented to the community and to Aña
2. Orula
3. Mairele okuo (“Something new has been born”) – View clip
4. Ogun



Choose a video format:

If you have a DSL or cable connection, select a "High quality" format

If you have a dial-up connection, select a "Low quality" format.

Media Video
High quality MPEG4 – 5.09MB WMV – 1.97MB
Low quality MOV – 862KB WMV – 536KB
Media Video
High quality MPEG4 – 7.69MB WMV – 2.62MB
Low quality MOV – 1.66MB WMV – 909KB

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