With the objective of preserving the origin of Cuba’s percussion music, musician Giraldo Piloto has been organizing the Drum Festival for 15 years now, with international performers in attendance as well.
Artists from Cuba, Venezuela, Spain, Canada, Chile and Japan gathered in Havana from March 1 to 6 to take part in the event, which is aimed at preserving the values of Cuban percussion music and its different influences, according to Piloto.
The Cuban musician also noted that the idea is to spread the new values of drum-related music throughout other parts of the world.
This festival shows the continuation of the legacies inheritepd from the different cultures that have influenced the Cuban nationality, he added. “The event is a tribute to the influences exerted by African and international rhythms on the Cuban culture.”
This edition of the festival was especially dedicated to young people, “because they have at their fingertips the possibility to preserve the legacy and the most genuine drum tradition in Cuba,” he explained.
With a mix of African and Spanish accents, the opening gala honored the roots of percussion music in Cuba with the show La Danza y el Tambor (Dance and Drum) performed by the National Folkloric Company, Habana Compas Dance Company, Rakatán , and the Santiago Alfonso and Irene Rodríguez dance companies.
Yoruba African deities featured in many of the pieces performed by the National Folkloric Company, recalling the traditions brought to Cuba by the African people, who were enslaved during the Spanish colonization.
The Teatro Mella (theater) was the venue for the main shows, which brought performers from different countries together on stage such as Alex Acuña and Walfredo de los Reyes Jr. (USA), Pete Lockett (United Kingdom), Aldo Mazza (Canada), Rodrigo Iter Quintero (Chile), Kono Project (Japan), El Flamenco Project and Nasrine Rahmani (Spain).
The percussionists from Cuba included Roberto Fonseca and Alain Pérez.
The events held in parallel to the Drum Festival included an international percussion competition with the objective of promoting the Cuban way of playing drums, a rumba competition (held for the first time) and the third edition of the casino dance contest.
In addition to the music and dance shows, the event made room for masterclasses like the one taught by the member of the Chicago Wally de los Reyes band at Havana’s Sala Avenida.
Similarly, Pete Lockett talked about Indian percussion and Alex Acuña about his experiences with the Weather Report Project.
The 2016 Drum Festival celebrated 15 years of work dedicated to rescuing and promoting traditional Cuban music, which displays a mix of Spanish and African rhythms.
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