Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cuban (Lucumi) Bata Drums (information & videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides excerpts from one article and one dictionary about Cuban (Lucumi) Bata Drums. This post also showcases five videos of Cuban (Lucumi) bata drums.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, religious, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who are featured in these videos.

Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Article Excerpt #1
"A Batá drum is a double-headed drum shaped like an hourglass with one end larger than the other. The percussion instrument is used primarily for the use of religious or semi-religious purposes for the native culture from the land of Yoruba, located in Nigeria, as well as by worshippers of Santería in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and in the United States. The Batá drum's popular functions are entertainment and to convey messages. Its early function was as a drum of different gods, drum of royalty, drum of ancestors and drum of politicians. Batá drum impacted on all spheres of life.[1]

The Lukumí (or commonly called santería) religion and Batá drums are closely associated. The drums are played simultaneously (often with a rattle or "atchere") to create polyrhythmic compositions, or "toques" during santería ceremonies. A ceremony with batá drums is generally known as a "toque," "tambor de santo," or "bembé," but ceremonies can also be accompanied by shaken gourd-rattle "chékere" (in English "shekere") ensembles (usually with tumbadora, also called conga drums). There are estimated to be at least 140 different toques for the spirits (saints, or santos) and their different manifestations. There are two important "rhythm suites" that use the sacred batá drums. The first is called "Oru del Igbodu" (a liturgical set of rhythms), alternatively called "Oru Seco" (literally "Dry Oru", or a sequence of rhythms without vocals), which is usually played at the beginning of a "tambor de santo" that includes 23 standard rhythms for all the orishas. The selections of the second suite include within them the vocal part to be performed by a vocalist/chanter (akpwon) who engages those attending the ceremony in a call-and-response (African) style musical experience in which a ritual is acted out wherein an "initiate" (one who through the great spirit Añá is granted the ability to perfectly play the Batá drums) plays the new Batá set, and thereafter is introduced to the old Batá set. This is said to "transfer" (through the initiate) the spirit or Añá of the drums from the old set into the new set.

Certain long-standing rules and rituals govern the construction, handling, playing, and care of the sacred batá: traditionally only non-castrated male deer or goat hide was used—female goats along with bulls, cows, and sheep were considered unsuitable; also only an initiate was considered worthy to touch or play the batá as only they have undergone the full ritual of "receiving Añá" granting them the forces deemed necessary to play the drums. Also, before a ceremony, the drummers would wash themselves in omiero, a cleansing water, pray, and for some time abstain from sex.

Also traditionally in Cuba, in Havana the batá are rarely played after sundown, while in Matanzas toque ceremonies often begin at night."...

Article Excerpt #2
From Santería, Vocaburaio Lucumí, Dictionary [Translated from Spanish to English, given as it was found on that page] *
(Ortiz). "According to the Yoruba dictionary of Oxford, batá is a drum used by the faithful of Changó and Egungun." "They are three drums of a religious character, used in the ceremonies of the cults practiced by the Lucumí or Yorubas and their Creole descendants. The orchestra lucumí or is the one of the batá or the one of the agbe or chekeré. Drum! Skin! Leather! Sandal. The three drums of the Yoruba liturgy are properly called the "aña" or "añá" and the profane name of ilú ".

Waiting for a better opinion, we assume that the word aña or añá is creole or dialectal corruption of the Yoruba voices "dza" or "dya", means "to war" and also "to rage a storm". The prefix "a" forms nouns with a verbal root; For that reason, it is the supernatural power of the Bata, and it is the supernatural power of the Batá, That defends them, thunders and fights against their enemies ". "Aña is a mysterious object with sacromagic power that is introduced into the closed resonant boxes of the batá drums, when they are built and consecrated." "The knowledge of this cryptic name has in itself a certain sacromagic power that the" olori "or musician employs to dominate his instrument." The "secret" or buzzing of the batá is precisely what is called. Ilú áña or batá is the drum when he is "sworn". Aña is the "guard," "spell," "fetish," or magic that enshrines them. It is the "secret" of the god Aña. "To make a batá game that is" grounded "or" Aña ", it is necessary to consecrate a priest who has" Aña "and can transmit it ... Its creation is in the exclusive faculties of the" olosaín "Or priests of Osaín, the god of the trees and plants or of its magical and medicinal forces".

"Aña iggilú nitín chouó", they pray to him to give food to the olú by the ring of the edge of his chacha. Which seems to be Creole corruption of Aña igguí ilú gui tichouón or translated "Aña, from the tree tambor made the speech was precious." Synonymy: batá. Battá, ilú batá. Ilú áña, bata áña, Onibatá, onilú.

The smallest drum is called Kónkolo, Okónkolo, and generally also Omelé. The median drum, or second by its size, is known by Itótele or Omeló Enkó. The word Itótele may come from the Yoruba voices: "i", a prefix to denote nouns of action "," totó " "Kónkolo" (the real name) or Okonkolo as it is usually said, seems to have been derived from the word Yoruba: Kónkoto "god" Or toy of the children ", alluding to the fact that the Kónkolo is the smallest of the sacred batá, the baby, or boy, as well as iyá is the major or the mother.

Kónkolo more probably had to be formed by" kon " Singing with repetition of the root in a repetitive sense, and what, like lu, means "to beat a drum or to sound a musical instrument". "Sometimes the drums falter, the weariness is noticed in their touch, then some of the listeners shout to them" Omleh, so that all of them may revive their energies. "In yoruba omé lé can mean" Boys, strong! The omelé voice could come from another "child" and "strong", "over others". The Kon kolo u omelé is in fact the smallest of the batá, that is to say the "boy" and also the one that gives in his small leather the highest note of the batá. ""

The membranes of the batá are of skin Of goat or deer. "Each drum has two mouths (enú) covered with leather (auó)." Specifically, the big auó is called enú, which in Yoruba means "boca" ...; And the small auó is called chacha. Voice onomatopéyica that in the native vernacular translates freely by "butt". Chachá is not synonymous with leather or membrane of ilú. "In the batá orchestra, the iyá occupies the center, the omelé is invariably placed on the right side of the iyá and itótele on its left side, even though the Kpuátaki is left-handed and plays the chacha with the right."

The batá are never played after sunset. It is said by a Lucumí song: "Orú dié aña ko ofé soró" (Night, little year, does not want to speak) ... "These ornaments of shawls and handkerchiefs in the batá are denominated alá". "In addition to the common alá, the batá aña are exceptionally dressed in a special liturgical garment, which in Cuba is called banté and in the land of Yoruba ibanté Ibanté means" apron. "(The ibanté salalá was used by kings or priests "By the manipulation of the oracle this designates the name to be taken by the trio of batá, according to the" road "or the Odun that comes out when the pieces of divination fall at random. Here are some of the sacred names that have the batá of some famous tamboreros of Havana and its region: Aña Iguilú (something like "drums of hauled wood") .

Añabi (son of Aña) is name of the batá. .. (de) Aguía batá. Other batá titles are Akoba Aña ("the first son of the drum") and Aiguobí (son of the music or the bulla). Recently, a trio of batá was baptized with the name encomaystic of Alayé, that in Yoruba means "Master of the World". There are batá Jews and they also have name. One of these is called Iraguó Méta ("Three stars"). Another, quite imperfect, Lulú Yonkóri ("Touch and song"). Ko bo ko gua ("not for worship, do not come"). Another very insulting, says Oró tin Ochú Kuá bi oré. Which seems to mean "Deception! They made you into a new moon, born of a gift or mercy." And another was given a more repugnant title ... Olomí Yobó, "Flow or menstruum of the vulva". The drums being "jurados" with sacerdotal hierarchy, acquire a name like the olochas and the babalaos. Okilákpa, Strong Arm. Omó Ológun, Son of the Master of Magic. E Goal Lókan, Three in one. Obanilú, King of the drum. Eruáña, Slave of Aña. Otobike, Omó gugú, Yóboyobo, etc.

The orú of the batá is a kind of musical hymnal that is called in honor of the orichas; Previously in the "room", tabernacle or igbódu; First without songs and only with drumming, and then with the accompaniment of the liturgical chant and the dances in the ille aránla. Special touches are many and each has its name. Aluyá, the one dedicated to Changó and Oyá, very alive and that dances "removing the foot". Báyuba, also of Changó and Oyá, slow, complicated and "very moved of waist". Kankán, from Changó with many foot movements like "kicking a stone". Tuitui, also for Changó with ballroom dancing. Aláro, in salutation to Yemayá. Apkuápkuá, a kind of shoe for the same goddess. Chenché Kururu, in honor of the goddess Ochún. Ayálikú, rhythm and sad and funerary tones, inspiration of Oya, goddess of death. Aggueré, a clash, a percussive frenzy in the chacha, dedicated to Ochosi. And so many more, innumerable."
*This entry is reformatted in this post to enhance its readability.

Example #1: Bata drumming instructional DVD from Matanzas, Cuba

earthcds, Uploaded on May 21, 2007

Example #2: Bata Drumming in Havana, Cuba, Rhythm Traders Roadtrip

Rhythm Traders, Uploaded on Jul 12, 2008

Miguel Bernal and his group demonstrate bata drumming and orisha chants at his home in Havana, Cuba

Example #3: Oshun Dance and Bata drumming by Raices Profunda Havana Cuba 1985

Michael Pluznick, Published on Jul 30, 2012

Oshun Dance and Bata drumming by Raices Profunda from my first trip to Havana Cuba 1985
"The Yoruba goddess Oshun is also known as Yeye. Her name is synonymous with transformation.

Oshun, also spelled, Osun, Oxun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun, is given hale because She rules the rivers that sustain life. Her realm also contains the aspects of love, flirtation, sensuality, beauty and the arts. Her priestesses dance to the rhythms of the streams, rivers, lakes and waterfalls in which She rules, and that carry Her voice with the sound of the waters."...
"goddess"= The Nigerian (Yoruba) word "orisa" [orisha] and the Cuban Lukumi (Santaria) word "oricha".
Click for the previously showcased video:. Among other scenes from a contemporary Cuban santeria bembe (religious gathering), that video shows the lead singer checking his cell phone in between songs.

Example #4: ORO SECO - 'Lukumi', Dominic Kirk, Yosvani. La Habana, 2013

Dominic Kirk , Published on May 6, 2013

Tambores Bata tocando el 'Oro Seco' completo. La Habana, Cuba, 15/1/13

Iya/Mayor - Michael 'Lukumi' Herrera Duarte,
Itotele/Segundo - Dominic Kirk,
Okonkolo - Yosvani Diaz,
"Tambores Bata tocando el 'Oro Seco' completo= (From Spanish to English): Bata drummers perform the complete "Oro Seco".
"Oro" is a Spanish word meaning "gold". Google translates gives the English meaning of "oro seco" as "dry gold". However, the word "oro" may be a Spanish adapted form of the Yoruba word orú, meaning "night".

Notice that "oru" is given in the article excerpts that are quoted in this post. For instance, here's information about oru seco from the excerpt given above as Article Excerpt #1:
"There are two important "rhythm suites" that use the sacred batá drums. The first is called "Oru del Igbodu" (a liturgical set of rhythms), alternatively called "Oru Seco" (literally "Dry Oru", or a sequence of rhythms without vocals), which is usually played at the beginning of a "tambor de santo" that includes 23 standard rhythms for all the orishas."...

Example #5: Chachalokuafun, Bata drums, Havana Cuba

Dan Callis, Published on Apr 5, 2015

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