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Kristin Olson, Michael Spiro | Bata Rhythms from Matanzas, Cuba: Transcriptions of the Oro Seco, Third Edition (Book)

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Bata Rhythms from Matanzas, Cuba: Transcriptions of the Oro Seco, Third Edition (Book)

by Kristin Olson, Michael Spiro

Kristin Olson transcribes Daniel Alfonso's "El Lenguaje del Tambor" with Daniel's own trademark cleanliness and clarity, to help students of the Matanzas style of bata drumming learn and digest what Daniel demonstrates in those recordings.
Genre: Latin: Afro-Cuban
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Latopa
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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2. Elegua Nitan
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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3. Ogun
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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4. Ochosi
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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5. Inle
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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6. Babaluaye
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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7. Ñongo Variations On Itotole
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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8. Ñongo Variations On Iya
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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9. Osain
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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10. Orisha Oko
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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11. Orula
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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12. Agayu
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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13. Chango
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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14. La Meta De Chango
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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15. Obatala
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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16. Yewa
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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17. Obba
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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18. Obba Addenda
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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19. Oya
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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20. Ochun
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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21. Olokun
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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22. Yemaya
Traditional Rhythm as Played in Matanzas, Cuba
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
So many of the giants of bata drumming have left us: Regino, Papo, Fantoma, Cha-Cha, Enrique...and now Daniel has also become a part of our moyubas (prayers). Ibae Ibae Entonu (may they rest in peace!).

The value of Daniel Alfonso's "El Lenguaje del Tambor" DVD is thus only magnified. It now stands as not only one of the most significant contributions to the practical study of Afro-Cuban folklore, but also as an invaluable historical document. Like all profound genres of music, bata drumming has always changed, adapted, incorporated and modernized. The simple truth, however, is that with the advent of modern technology the entire concept of studying and playing bata drumming has been profoundly altered from its 20th century practice. The importance of this DVD is that it will enable future generations of bata drummers to study “directly” with a master drummer who learned and played in the cabildos in the era when bata drumming was not only a musical tradition, but exclusively a sacred art form. Daniel’s generation will go down as the last to pass on the information aurally to chosen disciples, and what he teaches and demonstrates in this DVD is exactly “how it is supposed to be played.” Just as importantly the interviews, discussions and historical information that are included in this project provide us with an understanding of how the tradition developed and was then handed down from generation to generation, not only as a musical form, but as a sacred responsibility.

Within this context, the value of this latest edition of the transcriptions becomes inestimable. Much as the very first transcriptions of bata drumming (published in 1950 in Fernando Ortiz’s “La Africania de la Música Folklórica de Cuba”) brought to the Western world’s attention the complexity and depth of this musical tradition, these transcriptions accomplish the same mission. This music is very difficult to notate, precisely because it has so many irregularities: it is not played metronomically, it is not always in a consistent time signature, it is full of improvisation and personal artistic discretion, there are a myriad of different sounds that a master player can extract from one drum head, and the form is not necessarily constant. To accurately document the entire oro seco from Matanzas in Western music notation is an exceedingly difficult task.

We therefore need to make special mention of the contributions of Kristin Olson to this project, whose efforts to painstakingly and accurately transcribe these recordings have been remarkable. It is through these DVDs that Kristin learned to play with Daniel’s trademark cleanliness and clarity, and I consider her to be one of his best American students even though she never actually had the opportunity to meet him before he passed. She replicates that attention to detail in her notation and transcriptions, and provides us with a remarkable document to help learn and digest what Daniel demonstrates in these recordings. It is accurate, coherent and impeccably laid out. As one of Daniel’s loyal students, I am thrilled that these transcriptions are a part of this project, as they shed so much light into his brilliant style and form.

Maferefun Anya!

Michael Spiro
Omo Obatala, Olu Aña
Associate Professor, Jacobs School of Music Indiana University
September, 2015

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Dennis Bittner

the only transcription of Matanzas-style bata
Michael Spiro's album notes here say it all. Key for students of bata drumming. Great effort by Kristin Olson, but Tina Gallagher must be mentioned, because without her initiative, this valuable reference work for maintaining the Afro-Cuban traditions specific to Matanzas would not exist.
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