A lot is changing with America’s improved ties to Cuba, initiated and brokered by President Barack Obama.
One fringe benefit is the opening of the borders for travel between the two countries. Beginning November 4, the legendary Grammy Award-winning band Yoruba Andabo will be kicking of a U.S. tour to the eastern coastal cities of Durham and Washington, D.C, concluding on Saturday, November 7 in Brooklyn, with master classes and workshops of drumming, song and dance at the Asase Yaa Center for the Arts!
“This genre is probably one of the most popular music in the whole world,” said Kofi Osei Williams, master drummer, music professor and Asase Yaa’s executive director. “There’s a large population of Brooklynites that follow this genre. But these great artists that have been stuck in Cuba. This is a unique genre and they can now share with us live!”
World-renown for preserving sacred West African music brought to Cuba by enslaved Africans in the late 16th century, Yoruba Andabo will arrive complete with 17 musicians, dancers and singers. The ensemble takes its name from two African words loosely translated as the friends and followers of the Yoruba lands and culture.
The band will perform music from their two primary genres: Lucumi, a religious/spiritual genre that honors the worship and practice of African deities known as Orishas from Yorubaland (covering much of what is known as Nigeria and Benin today).
They will also perform Rumba, a secular music not connected to a spiritual tradition but was music played in an around work, highly rhythmic songs retelling the stories of every day life. The port docks of Havana, slave barracks, cane field settlements and urban tenements in Cuba gave birth to rumba music. Yoruba Andabo is widely proclaimed as the leading Rumba group on the world music scene today.
“When we look at the history of music and dance and culture, we’re looking at a coming together of African, Spanish and indigenous roots; the combination of all of those communities and cultures,” said Ayanda Clarke, a master percussionist, Grammy Award-winning musician, arts educator and lecturer.
A performer since childhood, Clarke has traveled across several continents performing with some of the world’s most revered percussionists and continues to perform and lecture frequently on African culture and music.
“The reason why they are so innovative is because in a time when people are making music digitally, they’re looking backwards to making music in modern day,” said Clarke. “Cuba, out of all the Caribbean countries, held on very close to their African traditions. So, [in addition to drums], they play with spoons and spatulas because that’s what their ancestors used. They present a new take on something very old.”
WHAT: Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation, in partnership with The Adinkra Group, Yoruba Cuba Association, Ayanda Clarke of the Fadara Group, AKILA WORKSONGS and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diasporan Institute (CCCADI), presents masters classes and workshops with Legendary Afro-Cuban Band Yoruba Andabo.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
- Song Workshop: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
- Drum Workshop: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
- Dance Workshop: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Sunday, November 8, Rumba Dance Party at S.O.B.s, New York, NY; Host and DJ: DJ Lumumba aka Revolution Special Guest: Amma Whatt
WHERE: Asase Yaa Center for the Arts, 1803 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY
WHAT ELSE: To register, go here.