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Bata Drumming :: Notations, Discographies, Glossary

Bata Drumming :: Notations, Discographies, Glossary

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Published by Aviva
Sacred, folkloric music of Cuba and the syncretic, Afrocuban traditions of Lucumi, Santeria, and Regla de Ocha. Overview of the bata drums and structure of a bembe ceremony. Notations (transcriptions) of three typical bata rhythms from the "oru seco," or purely-drum section of a bembe (ceremony). Several basic glossaries with Spanish and Lucumi terms defined in English. Several discographies outlining recordings with bata drums, or related to the sacred traditions of Santeria/Lucumi.
Sacred, folkloric music of Cuba and the syncretic, Afrocuban traditions of Lucumi, Santeria, and Regla de Ocha. Overview of the bata drums and structure of a bembe ceremony. Notations (transcriptions) of three typical bata rhythms from the "oru seco," or purely-drum section of a bembe (ceremony). Several basic glossaries with Spanish and Lucumi terms defined in English. Several discographies outlining recordings with bata drums, or related to the sacred traditions of Santeria/Lucumi.

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Published by: Aviva on May 27, 2007
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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.)
=Wemelere : 
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
first step
is to
master the salutes
played in the
Oru Seco.
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
 
depends on the rhythm and the context in which it is being played. Itotele rhythms arefairly stock and improvisation-free during the Oru Seco. Iya : the largest of the bata drums, the Iya produces the lowest pitched tones. The iyaalso has stock phrases found universally and played by all Iya players. These should beleamed and mastered first. Once you have a good working knowledge of the iya, you maynotice iya players incorporating many variations in their parts, even in the most basic of rhythms. Most of these variations will occur on the cha-cha side of the Iya and will requirea well-trained ear to distinguish. The iya " calls out " the changes and conversations for the entire bata ensemble, and usually has the most improvisational freedom of all the batadrums. Most but not all of this improvisational skill lies in the placement of strokes on thelarger of the two drumheads, the cha-cha…
Copyright ©2000 CongaPlace - All Rights Reserved 
=======================================================
The Sacred Bata Drums (Aña)
In Africa, the bata drums belonged to the kings and were only played for them. Until the last fewdecades in Cuba the drums were only played for the presentation of newly crowned priests(Iyawos) to the community and to Aña (pronounced an-yá), the Orisha or deity whose secretresides within the drum. Bembe drums or güiro (shekeres) were used for all other drummingceremonies. Today the bata drums are played more frequently and for a wider variety of reasons(such as a priest’s Ocha birthday, or to give thanks to a specific Orisha or Santo as they are oftencalled in Cuba).The bata are a set of three hourglass shaped drums that are played held across the lap. They arecarved from solid wood and their open ends are covered in goat skins. One end is larger than theother, and both ends are percussive. The large end of the drum is called the “inu,” or mouth, andthe smaller end the “chacha.” The largest drum is called Iya (Mother) and is dedicated to Yemaya.
 
The middle drum is dedicated to Ochun and is called Itotele. And the smallest drum belongs toChango and is called the Okonkolo.There are probably fewer than 100 sets of sacred bata drums in the world. Unconsecrated batadrums are called abericulá.At the beginning of a tambor or drumming celebration, the drums are played directly for theOrishas, usually in front of the throne or canastiero (cabinet) where the Orishas live. This cycle of rhythms is called the Oro Seco or “dry cycle” because no singing is involved (although inMatanzas the Orisha being honored is sung to at the end of the Oro). When the Oro is played infront of the Orishas, it is also called the Oro Igbodu.Following the Oro Seco, another complete cycle of rhythms is played in an open area, but thistime with singing (the Oro Cantado). During this cycle, priests salute the drums by bowing their foreheads to the floor and then to the drums. After the Oro Cantado, the party (or wemilere inLucumí) really begins. The akpón (lead singer) is now free to sing in any order and for any lengthof time to the various Orishas, praising them and inviting them to join the celebration bypossessing one or more of their priests. Once Orishas are present, the Iya drummer in particular must pay close attention to their movements, as it is the Orisha who calls for certain changes inthe rhythm.The percussive relationship between the three drums is a conversation—with each other, with thesinger and chorus, with the Orishas, and with Olofi (God). For this reason, we speak of the“language of the drums.”
 All site contents © Kabiosile. All rights reserved.
=======================================================
Bata Rhythm Transcriptions
Copyright ©2000 CongaPlace - All Rights Reserved 
=======================================================Rumba Iyesa
GENERAL INFOThis "toque" is one of the five most common toques in their basic form.It's relatively simple and it is used as dance rhythms for a couple of different orishas.In this fonction it is called rumbita.SHEET MUSIC(for key notation click here)

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Hi I was in Cuba, England and Berklee College of Music to learn how play Bata, I love play together in the stand. Check the new Book and CD of Bata in Argentina the autor is Diego Gosiker book name is Bata Drums (Oru Seco and other toques for a percussionist) highly recomended, www.batamusic.com.ar. This book provides a helpful method to play the 3 Bata Drums together. From Puerto Rico, ROBERTO
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