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CongaA Breef Explanation of afro-cuban rituels and the sacred bata-rhythmns

The Afro-Cuban folklore is mainly Yoruba and Bantu origin brought from the african slaves to Cuba. The anthology of Afro-cuban music is very rich.
It contains deep religious meaning to old african rites and goddesses and gods mixed with christian influences. Called in our days the Santeria or Regla de Ocho.

The bata drum of the highest goddess and god Obatala used to be an ancient menstrual rite of women for birth and rebirth. Men took over and used this rite to get the female power. Since the 1980's women study and learn again these sacred rhythmns.The three drums are called Iya (the biggest,the mother,the leader), Itotele (the man, the worker, the logic, the one listening and responding to the mother) and Okonkole (the small one, the child, the time-giver).

Once, in 1995, Bencomo, a bata constructor and Pancho Quinto, a famous bata group leader, had invited me to a Toque in Centro Habana.There were six bata players. Pancho called me next to one of the Itotele players in the middle of the play. Everybody began to scream to me, looked at me with big eyes, shouted that I should not have stand beside the player because the god Ana would leave the sacred bata and would eat me up because of my menstrual cycle.The same night, I've had a dream. A sacred dream, a menstrual dream, two women, me and myself , birth and rebirth, life and death, and blood, blood,blood...

Petra Morales

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