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Havana Club Rumba sessions; La Clave/ Cuban music, African roots. Plus Q&A : 28 February

Havana Club Rumba sessions; La Clave/ Cuban music, African roots. Plus Q&A : 28 February

This film is about tracing the through lines running from the African communities' spiritual drumming practices, the dancers and musicians who've preserved those traditions, through to the younger generation who've plucked out and re-contextualised the elements most exciting to them.

The history of rumba, inextricably tied up with the slave trade, uniquely intertwines West African and Iberian musical styles. With roots in the Congo, Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon, different African religious institutions such as Ifa, Ekpe and Nkisi were remade in Cuba as Lukumi (Santeria), Palo, Abakua and Arara. As such, the religious and social realities instituted by the African diaspora have a distinct, if complex, connection to the rhythms foundational to contemporary club music.

The three main styles of rumba are guaganco, yambu and columbia. As well as forming an important part of the documentary, unpacking these differing styles has become an important part of the wider Havana Cultura project's exploration of rumba. Giles Peterson worked with the esteemed rumberos to record versions of the three styles now set to be reworked by a number of producers working in electronic music in the UK and beyond. Where the film depicts the lineage descending from the working class communities of Havana and Matanzas to modern-day dancefloors, this other arm of the project allows for an exciting, global re-interpretation of rumba's roots. An album with these original tracks will be released next year.

“Rumba is in every set that I play as a DJ. Being invited to take part in rumba culture, with some of its most influential players, couldn't have made more clear what a vital force it still is in modern Cuba. From the homemade claves you find in most houses to the quinto drums driving Havana's clubs, rumba influence is everywhere." Giles Peterson DJ

This is an amazing film full of links between African spiritually and dope club beats in everyday music. A must see

'La Clave’ clearly connects the dances to the music and shows the dance moves are not random individual interpretations of what the the drummers are playing. It is a physical conversation between men and women. It is an art passed down through generations and kept alive within the community. It exists in the conservatoire and thrives and evolves on the street. Maybe it’s because the implicit language of rumba as a dance which continues to thrive in Havana’s working class neighbourhoods is not understood outside Cuba that rumba remains too complex for a global generation of clubbers schooled on 4 to the floor or ballroom people devoted to “StrictlyCome Dancing…” Ancient to Future

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