Review: Roots of Cuba Group 4 Module 7

dancing rumba columbia
Dates: 5th to 11th November 2006
Venue: Whaley Hall, Derbyshire
Tutor: Ravin ‘Raz’ Jayasuriya

Course Background:
The aim of the course is to provide all participants with a solid grounding in a wide range of percussion instruments and rhythms from Cuba, to enrich knowledge, ability and understanding of musical concepts and to develop existing skills of experienced players. Participants become a closed group that encourages individual development.

Tutor Summary:
This final module was full of emotion. Participants had spent over 2 years studying a range of Afrocuban percussion, learnt dozens of songs for different styles of music, discovered many new instruments and developed both on a professional and personal level.
playing for Oya on bata drums
The intense journey was full of highs and lows for all who took part. Sometimes struggling with the material presented and often putting pressure on themselves, these participants went the distance and can be proud of what they achieved. By the end of the courses every individual gained more self-confidence, rhythmic awareness and grew as percussionists and musicians.

We revised a lot of material from the past, played through a repertoire of rhythms we’d covered and there was plenty of new material too. All in all it was a truly special week of celebration!

Guest tutor
Our special guest tutor this time was Aleida Nani who taught us some Arara rhythms and songs. Aleida comes from a family of famous drummers in Havana, Cuba. She plays the bata drums (although they are rarely played by women), and was a founding member of Ibbu Okun, the first all-female folkloric bata group in Havana. They toured the USA in 1995 doing concerts and workshops to great acclaim. Aleida has extensive knowledge about bata, arara, rumba, and other Afro-Cuban folkloric musics

rumba on cajon and congas

Rhythms: Bembe, Tui tui (bata rhythm for Oya), Arara (toques for Ebioso & Afrekete), Guiro (toque de Iyesa), Guarapachangeo, Rumba on Cajones

Instruments: Bata, Congas, Cajones, Shekeres, Cowbell

Songs: for Afra and Ebioso (Arara), for Oya (Bata), Palo sequence

Techniques: revised a range of exercises from past modules
playing shekere in Yambu
Participants’ Comments:
I could write an essay but this is without question the best drumming / life experience I have had in my 15 or so years of playing percussion. Joy Duncan

The course covered more material and depth than I ever imagined. It has given me a wealth of knowledge and ability that I didn’t anticipate gaining in just two years, especially singing, I never expected that and I love it! Assaf Soudry

The course has given me knowledge of Cuban folkloric music, developed my technique and increased the pleasure of making music. Eilon Morris

It was a fantastic course and Raz is an incredibly clear and patient teacher and very consistent. Dinah Haywood

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