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New book: Carlos Aldama’s Life in Batá by Umi Vaughan and Carlos Aldama, Indiana University Press

History, music, new book, Religion, traditions and folklore Add comments
UPDATE: It is a pleasure to announce that Carlos Aldama’s Life in Batá: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum, by anthropologist Umi Vaughan and Carlos Aldama, is now available from Indiana University Press, in both paper and hardback.  It seems that there may also be a significant discount available, so in a nice change, this may actually be affordable!  As always, please feel free to send comments and reviews, and congratulations to Umi!

From the publisher’s description:

Batá identifies both the two-headed, hourglass-shaped drum of the Yoruba people and the culture and style of drumming, singing, and dancing associated with it. This book recounts the life story of Carlos Aldama, one of the masters of the batá drum, and through that story traces the history of batá culture as it traveled from Africa to Cuba and then to the United States. For the enslaved Yoruba, batá rhythms helped sustain the religious and cultural practices of a people that had been torn from its roots. Aldama, as guardian of Afro-Cuban music and as a Santería priest, maintains the link with this tradition forged through his mentor Jesus Pérez (Oba Ilu), who was himself the connection to the preserved oral heritage of the older generation. By sharing his stories, Aldama and his student Umi Vaughan bring to light the techniques and principles of batá in all its aspects and document the tensions of maintaining a tradition between generations and worlds, old and new. The book includes rare photographs and access to downloadable audio tracks.


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