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PrendasThe Congo in Cuba

Cubans descended from Africans in the Congo, Angola, Gabon, and Mozambique  have a common Congo heritage. The Efik and Efo and their Abakwa culture are also closely related. The Congo culture is particularly strong in Oriente but also in Matanzas province, especially Jovellanos and the other towns of the interior. The term "Bantu" is used outside of Cuba and suffered from use in South Africa, as in "the Bantustans." It is no longer considered politically correct. Cubans typically use "congo" and "los congoleses".

Congo Luanda

Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca

the Villamil family

Pedro "Pello" Tapanez

Rezo Goram 2009 - En Agon Gori Yezam Manter Ni Bawajdda 12/28/2008 por Manuel Rivero Glean - "El Proyecto Antropológico de Rescate, preservación y revitalización de la Regla de Ozain en Cuba; en la persona del Yurr Max Venerable Durggom Suppra Dr. En Ciencias Teológicas, Dagoberto Isaac Cordero.

Rezo Goram 2009 en Agón Gorí Yezam Manter Ní Bawajdda (Vaticinio o Letra del Año 2009), 12/29/2008 por Manuel Rivero Glean - "Regla de Ozaín - El Dr. D. I. Cordero fue iniciado en 1977 en la región de N´noki, rivera sur del río Zaire, en la actual provincia de M´Banza Congo, República de Angola, como Ala Wowwo (Venerable), Sumo Sacerdote de la Regla de Ozaín, por el Soba Olorí M´Benya Bakinguela, nativo y patriarca religioso en esta región."

CORROBORATION AND CONTENTION IN ‘CONGO’ CONSECRATIONS: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF CUBAN REGLAS CONGAS, Lonn S Monroe, University of Florida, 2007

Articles/Artículostop

Caiga quien caiga: Cuando la brujería está por encima de la ideología  10/20/2016 La Patilla: "Fue siempre -su gente- la que informaba- muchas veces con orgullo- que Chávez creía y practicaba paralelamente la santería y la religión Palo Mayombe, y que sus frecuentes viajes a Cuba, además de representar una oportunidad para establecer alianzas y acuerdos con Fidel Castro, eran para hacerse ver por babalawos, quienes “hipotéticamente” lo mantendrían “seguro” en su cargo e intacto de las garras de sus enemigos."

The Ancient Malongo Ceremony  9/22/2016 Palo Mayombe: "Originally there was an initiation ceremony within the Mayombe and Biyumba branches known as the malongo ceremony. This was the first step for anyone interested in joining a “house” or Munanso. Oftentimes, this was the only ceremony performed to an individual and was considered all he or she would need as a ceremonial rite as an ngangulero throughout his whole life. Occasionally the ceremony known as malongo was performed to the individual the very same day he would go to “consult” or “get read” by a Tata-nkisi."

'It’s the soul of Santiago': How to dance the conga in Cuba  7/27/2016 Telegraph, UK: "On the sizzling streets of Santiago de Cuba, the reedy wail of a Chinese trumpet pierces the sultry air. Its distinctive sound heralds one of the most vibrant displays of music, colour, drumming and hip-swivelling in the Caribbean – the conga, performed at festivals throughout the year and at the city’s annual carnival. “It’s the soul of Santiago de Cuba,” said Félix Bandera Ble, director of the city’s award-winning conga group, Los Hoyos. “For me, being a Santiaguero means the conga; it is pure and you carry it in your heart.”

The roots and rhythms of the Congo  6/23/2016 Washington Times: "You may think you don’t know anything about Congolese music. But if you’ve ever tapped your foot to the irresistible beat of the rumba, you’ve experienced a national tradition. Rumba originated in Cuba as a blend of African and Latin rhythms. The World Music Network, in its article, “The Music of Congo,” describes the Congolese rumba as “a musical form that hit a nerve throughout Africa and had a bigger cumulative effect on Western dance floors than any other African music,” and calls Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “Africa’s undisputed musical heart.”"

Africa Should Follow Cuba's Lead: Senior Congolese Official  4/26/2016 teleSUR: "The Congolese official is on an official visit to Cuba until April 28 following an invitation made by Esteban Lazo, the president of the National Assembly of the People's Power of Cuba."

Congolese music icon Papa Wemba dies on stage aged 66  4/25/2016 Euro News: "Wemba was known in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the King of Rumba Rock, pioneering a blend of African, Cuban and Western sounds."

Retrospective of Leading Cuban Artist Opens Saturday, Jan. 16, at Foosaner Art Museum  1/11/2016 Florida Institute of Technology: "MELBOURNE, FLA. — Caminos Transitados/Paths Taken: A Retrospective of Francisco Gordillo Arredondo Baba Oñi, a new exhibition mounted exclusively at Florida Institute of Technology’s Foosaner Art Museum, opens Saturday, Jan. 16."

Foosaner Art Museum Presents Caminos Transitados / Paths Taken  1/11/2016 WFIT: "Francisco “Gordillo” Arredondo Baba Oñi’s artwork straddles two worlds – the contemporary art market and Cuba’s subterranean mysticism. A highly skilled and internationally acclaimed artist and a priest initiated into the Afrocuban religion of Santeria, Gordillo paints a personal vision of his Congo and Yoruba inheritance. His paintings embody a mythology that simultaneously divulges and celebrates the island’s rich African spiritual legacy. Born in 1964, Gordillo graduated from Havana’s famous San Alejandro Art Academy in 1988. Since then, his work has been included in numerous group and individual exhibitions in Latin America, Europe and Canada. This exhibition -- his first retrospective -- includes over fifty paintings and mixed media works from his twenty-five year career."

In the world of the Malongo tradition  9/19/2015 Jamaica Gleaner: "Kumina rituals brought to St Thomas, Jamaica, between 1838 and 1865 by Congolese indentured workers are one such retention. However, in Cuba, the Congolese were brought over as enslaved people. They openly practised their religions and that's why the Congolese (Malongo) retentions are stronger in Cuba. They consist of elements that are similar to Kumina. Recently, Family and Religion spoke with Cuban Malongo priest, Andres Ramirez Machin (Tata NKisy), and his wife Elena Diaz (Yaye Nganga), who are still in Jamaica, about the beliefs and philosophy of the Malongo tradition (Congolese tradition) of which he has been a priest for more than 30 years."

In the world of the Malongo tradition  9/19/2015 Jamaica Gleaner: "Recently, Family and Religion spoke with Cuban Malongo priest, Andres Ramirez Machin (Tata NKisy), and his wife Elena Diaz (Yaye Nganga), who are still in Jamaica, about the beliefs and philosophy of the Malongo tradition (Congolese tradition) of which he has been a priest for more than 30 years."

André Petit ??  9/17/2015 UN SUEÑO - CUBA DE MIS AMORES: "Este fue un personaje muy contradictoria que contribuyo a la contaminación de las religiones africanas, con la mezcla de rituales católicos, un mulato que aspiro a ser blanco, que no fue sacerdote católico aunque lo aparentaba, que practico, casi todas las religiones africanas y creo el amasijo que es hoy Kimbiza (El Palo es Mayombe y Briyumba). Yo soy Tata arriba Nkisi Malongo que jura Kganga arriba intoto . Tata Mundele"

Congolese singer Ricardo Lemvo bridges styles, cultures  9/12/2015 Boston Globe: "Today, the great bandleaders of the 1960s are gone. But the role of what scholars call the Black Atlantic, binding both sides of the ocean in dynamic exchange, is as strong as ever. And Lemvo — from his base in Los Angeles — has made it his mission not only to celebrate the Cuba-Congo connection, but to broaden the scope to the sounds of Angola, Cape Verde, and beyond."

Exhibition Close-Up: Yoan Capote, Collective Unconscious  6/8/2015 Cuban Art News: "While his perspective is Cuban, Capote’s influences are international. He decided to title the show Collective Unconscious—a term coined by Carl Jung to describe a part of the mind shared by all human beings—as a tribute to the Swiss psychologist. “I was very influenced by Carl Jung, after I started to investigate his writings,” Capote told the group. “I found a lot of inspiration in his texts.”

Congo-Cuba in New York: Palo Mayombe Music, Dance & Religion  5/11/2015 City University of New York: "Join leading scholars, priests, and performers of Afro-Cuban Congo culture for enlightening presentations and discussions exploring the ways music, dance, religion, and philosophy influence how a people conceive of themselves, negotiate relationships with each other, and their history. Participants will elaborate the ways practitioners surface notions of warfare, identity, and power through drum and music practice. What theoretical organizing frameworks surface through the music, dance, and religious practice and what are their relationships to Congo, to Cuba, and to other Congo-influenced practices such as Petwo in Haiti? What is unique to Palo Mayombe and how does this impact current knowledge in Caribbean Studies, African Diaspora Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Cultural Studies?"

Fifty years later; tracing revolutionary Che Guevara's 'failure' in DR Congo  4/22/2015 Mail & Guardian, Africa: "“I was a simple soldier” in 1965, General Lwendema Dunia, now in his 80s, says in a hut in South Kivu’s capital Bukavu, recalling how Che “taught us how to make a revolution. He gave us military training and taught us politics.” But “once we started to take from the people and trample on revolutionary ideals… they left,” he said."

Interviews from Havana – Natalia Bolivar: Ethnologist, Writer, Painter  4/1/2015 teleSUR English: "Natalia Bolivar was raised as a Catholic in an aristocratic family but fought in the underground against the Batista dictatorship and went on to study African religions. Her love for African culture began when she was a child raised by a nanny from the Congo. She remembers the stories she told her and her teachings that the earth, the stones and everything around her was sacred and that she must live well with her surroundings. When Natalia took up the fight against Batista, she put her experience with weapons to work and was involved in a plot to kill the dictator. She was captured and tortured by attempted drowning and beatings that left her with broken ribs and mangled ears. In the course of the Cuban Revolution she has been able to pursue her ethnological studies, writings and paintings, through which she defends the African culture that is part of the Cuban identity."

Anniversary recalls Congo rescue by Miami Cubans  11/15/2014 Miami Herald: "Fifty years ago, a group of Cuban exiles working for the CIA rescued American hostages amid fierce firefights in the Congo. Sunday, some of the surviving warriors and hostages will reunite in Miami."

Shedding light on a secret sect  10/12/2014 Jamaica Gleaner: "In the mysterious, cryptic world of the occult, Palo Mayombe stands out. It's a faith noted for its secrecy, sheer energy, colour and mystical aura. With origins in the Congo, Africa, this mystical religious practice was brought to the region by slaves who were forcibly uprooted from their homes and sent to Cuba. There is an unmistakable fear that 'Palo' elicits. The tata or priest is said to hold the keys to the Cosmos, united with the myriad spirits that impact our lives. Such an imperial and revered role has long been bestowed on Tata Dane Nsasi who carries the title Nfumo-Ngubula - Tata Nganga, the highest position attainable in Palo Mayombe."

Hip Deep Angola 4: The Cuban Intervention in Angola  10/3/2014 Afropop Worldwide: "Through music, interviews, and historical radio clips, producer Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and Its Music, tells the story of Cuba’s massive commitment in Africa, from the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and the subsequent independence of Congo, to the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. We’ll talk to guest scholar Piero Gleijeses, foreign policy specialist at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and author of Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa 1959-1976 and the forthcoming Visions of Freedom, and to Marissa Moorman, author of the forthcoming Tuning in to Nation: Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1933-2002, who will share with us rare archival recordings."

Celebran en Cuba Día de África  5/27/2014 Granma: "Seguiremos honrando la memoria de los cientos de miles de combatientes internacionalistas que desinteresadamente pelearon por la dignidad y la libertad del hombre africano, afirmó este martes en La Habana el embajador de la República del Congo y decano del cuerpo diplomático del continente en Cuba, Pascal Onguemby."

Los munequitos de matanzas Un congo 2014  4/6/2014 YouTube 

Palo Monte en la Feria del Libro  2/18/2014 Negra Cubana: "La Editorial Jose Martí presentará durante la 23 Feria del Libro Cuba 2014, el texto Ta Makuende Yaya y las reglas de palo monte“, de las investigadoras Natalia Bolívar y Carmen González."

Remembering my Bisabuela  10/13/2013 Saravá y Aché: Pedro Perez-Sarduy remembers his great-grandmother who came over from the Congo as a child slave, and his grandmother of Yoruba heritage.

LA REGLA DE PALO MONTE (UN ACERCAMIENTO A LA BANTUIDAD CUBANA)  9/30/2013 UNEAC: "El libro del etnólogo Jesús Fuentes, publicado por Unión, obtuvo el Premio Anual de la Crítica Científico-Técnica, primer galardón de su género recibido por un escritor cienfueguero…"

Palo: Afro-Caribbean Religion With Sacrifices  9/19/2013 Miami New Times: "But he insists Palo is part of a beautiful, rich tradition that can be used to heal. Violence, however, is never advocated. There is still a fight for recognition and visibility, though. "There are still many people afraid to say this is what they practice, this is what they believe," he says. "Paleros are everywhere, but they're just afraid to come out into the light."

The Fiesta of the Kinfuiti en Mariel, Cuba  8/20/2013 Havana Times: "Cuba’s Saint Anthony of Padua or Kinfuiti festivities are a religious celebration organized in the town of Pueblo Nuevo, Quiebra Hacha, Mariel. The tradition is maintained by the Robaina, Sandoval, Pedro Cuesta, Lasa and Larrinaga families, descendants of several communities of African slaves (chiefly of the Conga and Lucumi tribes) which inhabited the region during colonial times."

La Habana será sede del Congo Globo Voice  8/19/2013 Cayo Hueso: "El Comité organizador está conformado por La Casa de África de La Habana, representada por Alberto Granado, su director; la Asociación de Amistad Cubano-Africana, para lo que compareció su presidente Victor Dreke Cruz; la MsC. Deyni Terry Abreu, representante legal en Cuba de Minnesota Yoruba Cuba y directora general de Alianza Unidad Racial,y Ofunshi Obá Kosó, promotor directo del proyecto Crisis del Congo y Presidente de Minnesota Yoruba-Cuba."

La Habana será sede del Congo Globo Voice  8/12/2013 Negra Cubana: "Congo Globo Voice realiza un llamado a la defensa del Congo (Kinshaza o Democrático), para lo que se proponen acciones como la llamada ¨Apaguen los celulares¨, dedica a las victimas del saqueo de los minerales en ese país de África. Del mismo modo, se prevee la realización de un panel para discutir los efectos de la explotación minera en el Congo: además se incluirá la temática de la violencia sexual a partir del análisis de la violación como arma de la guerra."

Cubans Speak of Their Journey to Their Past  7/17/2013 Havana Times: "My grandmother was a very close friend of Florinda Diago’s, who was a descendant of Josefa. Other members of the Ganga tribe, the precursors of these traditions in Cuba, were in the same ship that brought her from Africa. These traditions were passed on to me through my grandmother and aunt. I’ve known the dances, the songs and the ritual beating of the drums since I was a kid, because I was raised within the traditions, though I’m not a member of the Ganga Longoba African culture group. My aunt is always singing traditional songs and my grandmother used to tell me many stories from the old country. In Mukpangumba, I played the drums and danced. I don’t know the exact place in Africa my ancestors lived. Orlando Herrera, Perico’s former city historian, used to say we must have come from Nigeria or the Congo, because of our physical features."

UN ESTUDIO DEL COMPONENTE RELIGIOSO BANTÚ  2/27/2013 UNEAC: "Entre las actividades de la Feria se anuncia el sábado 2 de febrero, a las dos de la tarde, en el espacio que ocupa la Tarde de la Rumba en los Jardines de la UNEAC, la presentación del libro La Regla de Palo Monte. Un acercamiento a la bantuidad cubana, del cienfueguero Jesús Fuentes Guerra, por la escritora Grisel Gómez Gómez. Guerra es miembro de la UNEAC, de la Asamblea Cubana de Estudios Germanísticos (ACEG) y representante de la Fundación Fernando Ortiz en Cienfuegos."

Acceso exclusivo a ritual de Palo Monte en Cuba  2/6/2013 Univision: con video - "Muy pocas veces las cámaras de video tienen acceso a un ritual de Palo Monte, nombre por el que se conoce a una religión afrocubana cuyos orígenes se remontan a la época de la esclavitud y a la migración forzada de miles de esclavos desde la región del Congo africano."

Concierto de compañía cubana Yoruba Andabo en Nueva York  11/30/2012 CMBQ: "La prestigiosa compañía cubana de música y danza Yoruba Andabo ofrecerá este viernes un concierto en el Carnegie Hall, una de las salas de teatro más importantes de América, como parte del Festival Voces de Latinoamérica."

Sacerdote afrocubano en documental de Roberto Chile  12/19/2011 Cubahora: "Uno de los documentales cubanos que más expectativas despertaron en el público durante la edición 33 del Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano fue Soy Tata Nganga, del realizador Roberto Chile. Con un montaje ágil y dinámico —como caracteriza a la poética de Chile en los últimos años-, Soy Tata Nganga retrata, durante 20 minutos, la vida de Enriquito Hernández Armenteros, nonagenario sacerdote de las religiones afrocubanas conocido como Enriquito el de la Hata, quien habita en la barriada habanera de Guanabacoa."

Soy Tata Nganga: lo inmenso de las cosas sencillas (+ Fotos)  10/21/2011 CubaDebate: "El motivo lo justificaba plenamente: la premiere del documental Soy Tata Nganga, cinta en la cual afloran audacia, alegría, pasión, fervor, añoranzas, musicalidad, pertenencia. es como el viaje imaginario al Paraíso Espiritual que el artista del lente Roberto Chile, de vasta obra, nos regala en esta obra nacida más de su corazón, que de su ojo avizor."

Macua  1/31/2011 Scribd: by Heriberto Feraudy, a treatise on the Macua, a Bantu group who has a cabildo in the province of Matanzas.

Todd Ramon Ochoa’s Society of the Dead  12/21/2010 Ethnocuba: "Through crystalline and evocative prose, Ochoa writes of the lives of his two main Palo teachers – Isidra and Rodolfo – and the lessons they impart to him. I was struck by the craft of Ochoa’s own writing, an eloquent counterpoint to his argument that Palo seeks power in both the art of crafting material objects as well as the discursive art of creating “shapes of fear."

PRENDAS-NGANGAS-ENQUISOS: Turbulence and the Influence of the Dead in Cuban-Kongo Material Culture  8/1/2010 Cultural Anthropology: "Cuban-Kongo praise of the dead in Havana turns insistently around complex agglomerations of materials called “prendas,”“ngangas,” and “enquisos.” This article addresses the ontological status of “prendas-ngangas-enquisos,” which practitioners of Cuban-Kongo affliction practices care for as entities that determine the very possibility of their healing and harming craft. Cuban-Kongo societies of affliction, in Havana collectively referred to as “Palo,” stake their claim to influence others in and through these entities."

Ñaña Sere  7/14/2010 Cuba Calabar Radio: "Arsenio Rodriguez is one of Cubas most important composers. He was famous for many innovations in Cuban music such as the montuno section of the son and the Conjunto format, but most importantly for his way of incorporating afro-cuban folkoric music traditions especially Congo and Carabali into his music."

Cuba in Afro-Cuban Folk Dances  9/11/2009 Cuba Now: "The Folk Ballet of Trinidad and Leyenda Folk keep alive the roots of African culture dating back to the colonial period. The Folk Ballet of Trinidad has always based its spectacles on the village’s preserved traditions. Its efforts to rescue and preserve the locality’s most genuine dances and songs have been extolled by Cuban and foreign experts. Cuba is rich in dances of African origin. Brought by slaves of different ethnic groups, the dance became an essential element of national culture, through the transculturation of African and Spanish components. The Folk Ballet of Trinidad, with its 45 years of existence, corroborates that tradition. ...The dance group is formed by twenty artists, including dancers, percussionists, and singers. It has a wide Yoruba and Congo repertoire, also comprising pieces of the Cuban popular music. The group has also become a place reintegrating people into society, as it was founded with youth of improper behaviors. The Folk Ballet of Trinidad and Leyenda Folk currently preserve the roots of African culture dating back to the colonial period when slaves, having no other fun than their own dances and music, worshiped their gods."

Murió Andriol Stevens, destacado líder religioso santiaguero.  9/9/2009 Case Del Caribe: "Falleció este 3 de Septiembre en santiago de Cuba, a la edad de 36 años Andriol Stivens Portuondo, Santero (hijo de Argayú) y Tata Nganga, Sacerdote de la Regla Palo o Regla Conga, líder del Cabildo San Benito de Palermo (Congo Siete Rayos Mundo Lima Acaba Cuento), creado por su padrino y tío, el Sacerdote Mayor (Tata Nkisi Malongo) Vicente Portuondo."

Rezo Goram 2009 en Agón Gorí Yezam Manter Ní Bawajdda (Vaticinio o Letra del Año 2009),  12/29/2008 AfroCubaWeb: por Manuel Rivero Glean - "Regla de Ozaín - El Dr. D. I. Cordero fue iniciado en 1977 en la región de N´noki, rivera sur del río Zaire, en la actual provincia de M´Banza Congo, República de Angola, como Ala Wowwo (Venerable), Sumo Sacerdote de la Regla de Ozaín, por el Soba Olorí M´Benya Bakinguela, nativo y patriarca religioso en esta región."

Rezo Goram 2009 - En Agon Gori Yezam Manter Ni Bawajdda  12/28/2008 AfroCubaWeb: por Manuel Rivero Glean - "El Proyecto Antropológico de Rescate, preservación y revitalización de la Regla de Ozain en Cuba; en la persona del Yurr Max Venerable Durggom Suppra Dr. En Ciencias Teológicas, Dagoberto Isaac Cordero. Se reunieron el día 28 de diciembre de 2008 en el Templo “Ori Eiyé Keiyé”, sito en la calle Sitios#58 e/Rayo y San Nicolás, Centro Habana. Telf.: 861-1094. Para efectuar el Rezo Goram 2009. Presidido por el Concilio de Venerables Durggon Suppra y refirmado por el Concilio de Olories ni Ozain en Bawajdda."

Bantu Survival in the Cuban “Lengua de Mayombe”  9/1/2008 Islas 

Papa Wendo - Influential Congolese musician who was both lionised and jailed by politicians  8/1/2008 Guardian: "Now known as Wendo, and then Papa Wendo, he recorded his first massive hit, Marie-Louise, in 1948. A light, charming and lilting song, it became so popular that it was credited with magical powers, with devotees claiming that it could heal the sick and raise the dead - to the concern of the church and the Belgian authorities, who had him arrested. It turned out to be a good career move, for Wendo commented later that "when I got out of prison, that song Marie-Louise became even more popular". Wendo, and the artists he inspired, produced new popular music that cut right across the Congo's complex ethnic barriers by mixing local traditional songs with the styles developed by African slaves who had been transported to Cuba. This new Congolese style, rumba, would provide the soundtrack for that brief, hopeful, era in Congolese history, as the country moved towards independence in the late 1950s. Though never actively involved in politics, Wendo was a close friend of Patrice Lumumba, the radical politician who became the Congo's first prime minister in June 1960. Wendo insisted that Lumumba would come to listen to his songs, not to discuss politics."

16th Benny Moré Festival of Popular Music  9/19/2007 Cuba Now: "The event’s program will start at 9:00 a.m. of the 19th, with the traditional peregrination of locals and visitors to the cemetery of Lajas, where Benny Moré is buried. This year, his grave will be declared a National Monument. The Congos of San Antonio’s Casino will also be declared a National Monument during the second day of the Festival. This place treasures the cultural traditions that were inherited from Africa and, according to the local inhabitants, it was right there where Benny first received his musical influences."

Afro-Cuba Music Anthology Released  7/7/2007 Prensa Latina: "The most complete anthology of Afro Cuban music was launched today by the Musical Recordings and Editions institution (EGREM). During the event in the Africa House in Old Havana, considered Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, musicologist Olavo Alen described the collection of 10 CDs of the best players of the genre. The recordings include ancient Afro-Cuban songs, Oru de Igbodu, Iyesa, arara, tambor yuca, bembe, tumba francesa, toque de guiros, congos and Abakua. Olavo Alen explained that the purpose of the project was to rescue music previously recorded in Guantanamo, center of this musical form. Musicologist Maria Teresa Linares described the collection as "unprecedented" due to its testimonial value and recalled that it was also homage to the deceased well-known researchers and musicians, such as Fernando Ortiz and Argeliers Leon."

Kongo Cruzado: Cuban Lukumi and Kongo Identities in the Art of Francisco "Gordillo" Arrendondo  9/16/2006 AfroCubaWeb: by Ivor Miller

Kekele merges the music of Congo and Cuba  7/28/2006 Boston Globe: "In the beginning there was a rhythm. It crossed the Atlantic with the slave trade and came to thrive in Cuba. About 70 years ago, it found its way back to Congo (etched into the grooves of Cuban 78s), where most of the Cuban slaves had come from in the first place. The rhythm was rumba, and once back in Congo it changed, eventually producing soukous , the high-energy Congolese pop of recent decades, with its segments of frenetic guitar riffs and barked-out audience exhortations. But memories of a sweet transition period endure: a time, mainly in the 1960s, when nations like Congo celebrated their newly achieved independence to the sway of a rumba beat. Kekele is an all-star operation: Every member played in the 1960s and 1970s with masters such as Franco and Tabu Ley Rochereau . Guitarist Papa Noel has been on the scene since the 1950s. Three members were in the band 4 Étoiles . When all these veterans came together in 2000 to form Kekele -- the name refers to a creeping jungle plant -- it was a bit like the birth of the Buena Vista Social Club, only without an outside instigator. ``Our approach is very simple," says mellifluous singer Loko ``Djeskain" Massengo , reached during a tour stop in Montreal. ``We come from a generation that was immersed in rumba. Considering that rumba is not just a music but a whole culture, we need to bring it back into today's fashion."

The folkloric ballet of Trinidad: Sponge for traditions  5/26/2004 Cubarte Newsletter: "The only professional dance company, that exists in the province will be 41 years old in 2004, with the enchantment to condense all types of the Trinidad culture, fundamentally its deepest root, the black congos, awarded with the Memoria Viva prize.in 1997, and symbol of the Sancti Spiritus culture; the group maintains the spectacles several nights during the week in its Palenque, located in the heart of the Villa."

Lemvo blends sounds of Africa and Cuba  5/7/2004 Contra Costa Times: "Since he founded Makina Loca in 1990, Lemvo has pioneered an uncategorizable sound that's both essentially African and Latin, drawing equally on Cuban son montuno and Congolese soukous, with a dash of Latin jazz and funk thrown in for good measure. In many ways, the seeds of his sound were planted during the restless nights of his youth. Growing up in Kinshasa in the 1960s, Lemvo was lulled to sleep in his bed by the surging Cuban and Congolese dance music wafting up from a bar next door. Like much of West Africa at the time, the cosmopolitan capital of the huge country then known as Zaire (and now as the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo) was awash with Cuban music, which was embraced by West Africans who recognized their diaspora kin through the Afro-Caribbean rhythms." "

Cubanos también presentes en el Festival Benny Moré  9/11/2003 Cultura: "Junto a las agrupaciones de varios países, orquestas cubanas estarán haciendo vibrar el esqueleto de los que asistan al Festival Internacional Benny Moré en Cienfuegos y Lajas. Algunos nombres del patio que responderán a la cita son: Los Van Van, Isaac Delgado, Equis Alfonso, Pupi y los que Son Son, Eliades Ochoa y Augusto Enrique y su Mambo Band. Durante este encuentro se le entregará el premio Memoria Viva, al Casino de los Congos de Santa Isabel, lugar donde el Bárbaro conoció de las tradiciones africanas que ahí se cultivan. El galardón es otorgado por la Fundación Fernando Ortiz. Y como dato curioso anotemos que se sabe que el tatarabuelo del Benny Moré se llamaba Ta Ramón Cundo, quien era descendiente de un rey congo."

Historical research that reads like a novel  2/7/2003 Granma: "ITALIAN Piero Gleijeses is professor of Foreign Policy and Latin American Studies at John Hopkins University in the United States. He is also a researcher. These two aspects led the historian to ask himself several years ago why Cuba became involved in Africa; the answer to that question is Conflicting Missions. Havana, Washington y Africa. 1959-1976… For General Harry Villegas — known among Che’s guerrilla as "El Pombo" — presenting Gleijeses’ book at the Havana Book Fair is an almost family event. "I’ve met half my guerrilla group, including Víctor Dreke, Urbano, and friends from the Congo and Angola because of this book."

Victor Dreke, Che's second in command in the Congo, on US Tour  11/13/2002 AfroCubaWeb: "Dreke was also one of the commanders of the fight against the counterrevolutionary bands, backed by the CIA, in the Escambray mountains of central Cuba from 1960-1965. In 1965, Dreke served as second in command under Ernesto Che Guevara in the Congo. More than 100 Cuban volunteers went to the Congo at the request of leaders of the national liberation movement there who were followers of Patrice Lumumba, the assassinated leader of the Congo's fight for independence. This experience laid the basis for the Cubans to aid other liberation struggles -- in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and elsewhere in Africa."

Invasor front page with History of Che in the Congo.  8/26/2002 Invasor: scroll down to the end to look over the stories of the Che in the Congo - " Los hombres de Tatu - Desde la mirada de una joven - La traductora - El Che era capaz de hacer lo que pedía a otros que hicieran - Pombo, el escolta del Che - El Che educaba con el ejemplo - Como caído del cielo - "Teté, no traiciones" - De la mano del Che - Un hombre extraordinario."

Los hombres de Tatu  8/26/2002 Invasor: "Víctor Dreke, uno de los combatientes que acompañó al Che al Congo, narra algunos de los momentos de aquella histórica gesta. Este trabajo fue extraído de la revista Somos Jóvenes digital."

LA RUMBA, ¿GÉNERO DE ORIGEN GANGÁ?  8/1/2002 Jiribilla: "Así Raúl Martínez, en su artículo La Rumba en la Provincia de Matanzas, sostiene: “Pero de todas estas culturas traídas por el africano, las que más influyeron en la rumba matancera fueron las de origen congo y gangá. La influencia de elementos musicales y danzarios producto de estas dos raíces no solo se observa en los rumberos del campo, sino también es de fácil reconocimiento en las creaciones de los rumberos de la ciudad...”

El vocabulario congo de Lydia Cabrera  11/25/2001 El Nuevo Herald, Miami 

Links/Enlaces

www.friendsofthecongo.org

Congo-Cuba in New York

www.nsasi.com in NY

www.palomayombe.com

www.ecured.cu/Regla_de_Palo_Monte


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