Bata Drumming & the Lucumi Santeria BembeCeremony
Overview of Basic Structure of a Bembe Ceremony
=Oru Seco :
the first part of a bembe and a series of bata salutes called toques playedfor each of the Orisha. The term seco actually means "dry" in Spanish and, in this case, refers tothe absence of singing.
=Oru Cantando :
the second part of a bembe consisting of a series of songs sung for each of the Orisha. The songs are accompanied by bata drums, and may employ many of thesame toques used during the Oru Seco portion. (Or entirely new toques may be played.)
the last part of a bembe, the wemelere expands on the music played in theprior sections and includes dancing and singing, in hopes that the Orisha will come down and"visit" the participants.
Learning to Play the Bata
When learning bata music, the
master the salutes
played in the
Introduction to the Bata Drums
The three bata drums and their roles in a the bata ensemble: Okonkolo : the smallest bata drum, the okonkolo produces the highest pitched tonesand is typically used to play a standard set of rhythms in support of the Iya and Itotele.The Okonkolo is considered the metronome and time-keeper of the bata ensemble, hencethere is little improvisation (floreos) carried out on this bata drum, especially during theOru Seco. However the level of improvisation depends on the bata rhythm and the contextin which it is played. Some rhythms actually require the okonkolo player to be able toimprovise more freely to really swing the music. Itotele : the middle bata drums, the Itotele produces the medium pitched tones and isalso used to play a standard set of rhythms in support of the Iya. As with the Okonkolo,these rhythms are fairly universel with little variation from one form of bata to another. Theitotele, is expected to answer " and " converse with " the Iya. This usually allows theplayer a little more improvisational freedom then with the okonkolo. But again, this