Drum and necessary party

When on Sunday, March 5, the last notes of the 20th sounded. With the release of the Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam Drum Festival, we reaffirmed for another year the belief shared by creators and audiences for just over two decades: the Drum Festival is an indispensable celebration in Cuban cultural life.

Days after the conclusion of a great music festival, it seems that the streets of Havana continue to vibrate with percussive sounds and rellolo from a meeting that appeals to the most authentic of our cultural traditions, from music to dance, passing through elements of the deepest of our religious and Afro-Cuban heritage.

Dedicated to the legacy that Lazaro Ross and José Luis Quintana Changuito left to generations of rumbero, Fiesta del Tambor is back with its usual and varied competitive offering in genres such as casino, rumba and instruments such as drums, timbale and congas.

Every day, the competitions brought together a large group of young art students and music professionals who tested themselves in front of the jury, proving that our music and dance traditions have a great future if they are given due attention. and stimulated by competitions of this type.

Each competitive cycle was a complete educational opportunity in which the less experienced were fed by the skills of the more successful. The competitions were preceded by master classes that presented authentic gems of Cuban culture of the time, from drummer Oliver Valdes, multi-instrumentalist Alain Perez to folklorists Jenniselt Galata and Oddeby García Fabars.

Undoubtedly, the Festival of Drums goes beyond a playful character to become a formative space, including every night of presentations, where Giraldo Piloto, president and promoter of the event, emphasized that students from art schools can visit and see orchestras and folklore groups in I live and what, can a future musician, dancer or creator be a great artist without drinking directly from the referents of his time? I believe that cultural heritage will not be transmitted in the same way. That is why we should applaud the goals that make this possible.

To pass on the legacy of generations of excellent Rumberos and creators of Afro-Cuban traditions is the task of those who today are the link between generations, connecting the classics with promising talents. It should not be forgotten that the Guillermo Barreto Drum Festival at the Memoriam festival, as Giraldo Piloto has well put it in various spaces, is a platform for promoting, refining and utilizing new talents and percussion values ​​and Afro-Cuban elements in their most diverse forms.

In the midst of its 20th edition, the event has not ceased to face obstacles limiting its scope, despite the fact that it has not ceased to hold important places in popular music. The fiesta has left the theaters to travel the streets of Havana, reach neighborhoods and make people vibrate, the same people who made the Afro-Cuban genres their own and exalt them daily.

Bejukal’s drums nearly stormed Obispo Avenue on Saturday afternoon, changing the dynamics of one of the Cuban capital’s most populous arteries for an afternoon of joy and wonder for passers-by. National and foreign artists arrived at the Casa de la Cultura in Centro Habana, as well as other groups that entertained their residents in the Regla and Habana del Este areas such as Rumbatá, Obiní Batá and Chispa y los Cómplices.

There was no shortage of rumber evenings at the Salón Rosado de la Tropical, where several of the main groups promoting the genre met and orchestras such as Alexandre Abreu and Havana D’ Primera, Alain Pérez, Eduardo Ramos and Más con Menos were present. Despite the difficult circumstances, the festive nature of the musical festival has not diminished. Undoubtedly, it will take a large and coordinated effort to make the Drum Festival a more brilliant proposition, as it has been in previous editions. It is up to all of us, creators and viewers, to defend a gathering so essential to our culture.

Drum Festival 2023. Percussion competition at the Salón Rosado of La Tropical.

Drum Festival 2023. Comparsa Parade on Obispo Street. Bezhukal drums. Photos: Ariadna Prado Cabale

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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