Review: Roots of Cuba Group 5 performance

Puño de Dios logo
Calling themselves PUÑO DE DIOS, students from ROC group 5 completed their 2 year study with a colourful performance on September 6th at the Copacabana club in Manchester.

For almost two and a half hours, the group enthralled the audience with a presentation of a wide range of Afrocuban music.

Some pieces presented different Afrocuban traditions & others were creative arrangements combining styles resulting in a colourful mix of sounds.


At the beginning of this course, only a couple of students had experience in singing. By the end, everyone was singing with confidence and five students sang lead for the performance.

Similarly with the percussion, there was range of experience at the start of the course. By the time of the performance, individuals were confidently moving to a different instrument for each peice of music with many of them taking responsibility for playing the lead / solo drum.

Conga - Collette
Students of this course come from all over the UK and over the duration of their study everyone took huge steps forward in developing their rhythmical skills, in understanding the complex concepts of Afrocuban percussion, in improving the quality of their tones and percussion playing ability.

Most importantly each one played their part in creating a supportive learning enviroment that allowed everyone to increase their self-confidence.
Raz directs ensemble

Puño de Dios members
Rob Acari, Aphra Barwick, Beth de Lange, Sheila Brisland, Collette Boardman, Roddy Dickson, Bethan Emmett, Helen Mathias, Helen Morris, Erin Scrutton, Karen Steadman, Adrian Waters

Guest artists
Ravin ‘Raz’ Jayasuriya – music co-ordinator, Iya
Dave Pattman – vocals & quinto
Howard Jacobs – saxophone & chinese trumpet
Juan Muñoz & Susan – dance


Began with singing a Yoruba prayer then to an Arara toque with songs followed by a Guiro (shekeres, bell & drum) with songs. The final section was a fusion of elements from the Arara & Guiro rhythms mixed with a toque played on the Bata drums. This sequence was accompanied by a dance for Eleggua

Examples of rhythms and songs based on the Congo/Bantu traditions – Makuta, Palo & Cajon Espirituales

Toque de bembe with songs

Sequence of songs with Bata drumming adding a Songo groove for 2 congas in the final section
Rumba - Juan
Rumba section
Yambu, Columbia (mixed with Bata toque for Chango) & Guaguanco – all with songs and dances


Rhythm and songs accompanied by dance

Babalu Aye
Two Arara songs with clapping rhythms followed by another song with Arara drumming

Sequence of songs with Bata drumming ending with a fusion combining Cajones (boxes) and Congas – with dance
Howard on sax

A variety of carnival rhythms and songs with dance

Click here for more photos from the Manchester gig

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