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Discography

Schedule

Summers leads group to Matanzas for initiations into Aña.

Viaje de Summers a Matanzas: los musicos de Nueva Orleans se hacen Aña en Matanzas: Nuevo Herald

Los Hombres Calientes, New Orleans
"one foot in 2000 BC and one foot in 2000 AD"

Lead by famed percussionist Bill Summers, Los Hombres Calientes are a major hot new force in New Orleans music and feature such artists as:

Irvin Mayfield                  trumpet
Bill Summers                   percussion, vocals
Jason Marsalis                drums
David Pulphus                 bass
Victor Atkins III              piano
Yvette Bostic-Summers   percussion, vocals

along with guest vocalists Phillip Manuel, Manuel Lander and Cyril Neville on their CD.

.  They are recognized as having strong AfroCuban influences. The Summers Multi-Ethnic Institute of Arts, run by Bill Summers and his musician wife, Yvette Bostic-Summers, have led groups of New Orleans musicians down to Matanzas, Cuba, to initiate them into Aña, the Yoruba percussion tradition.

Los Hombres are featured on a great web site, Basin Street Records

www.allmusic.com/artist/los-hombres-calientes-irving-mayfield-bill-summers-mn0002299722/biography 

New Orleans delegation visits master drummer Chachá for initiations            

"We’ve Linked the African Chain"
Cuban Master Initiates New Orleans Drummers Into Religious Fraternity
By Sallie Hughes And Ted Henken, 2/99

African roots bind Cuba and New Orleans, and now five New Orleans musicians have become the first African American group to join a privileged Yoruban fraternity of ceremonial drummers and own a "family" of sacred drums.

"We’ve linked the African chain from Africa to Cuba to the United States," said well-known New Orleans drummer Bill Summers. "To me, as an African American, that is a big deal." The drums were created and consecrated in ceremonies over a period of two years by Cuban Esteban "Cha Chá" Vega, who Summers said is "revered as the man, the high priest of drummers on the island."  Cha Chá also officiated at the initiation of the New Orleans musicians into the Yoruba fraternity while Cuban master drummer Pancho Quinto, who visited New Orleans last year, participated in the ceremony.

Summers was on his fourth visit to the island, furthering a musical and spiritual relationship spanning 35 years. The innovative drummer of the local Latin jazz group "Los Hombres Calientes" participated in the Havana events of the January cultural trip, but said the trip to the Afro Cuban heartland of Matanzas was his primary motivation in traveling to the island.

Summers said he has fought a long time to preserve the strong cultural, musical, and African heritage connections that unite Cuba and the Crescent City, and rejected the notion that communication and cultural ties between the two places suffered after the Cuban Revolution. Many African Americans from New Orleans have defied political obstacles and traveled to the island through third countries, he said. New Orleans’ black residents "refuse to let political issues deter them from discovering their heritage," Summers said. "It is important to me that what we did is understood."

Cuba was the second-largest port of call of the colonial slave trade, after Brazil. African influences percolate through Cuban culture, from rhythm to religion, and Afro-Cubans are known for maintaining their African cultural traditions. That’s why Summers took students Kito Johnson, 12, his brother Rashidi Johnson, 15, Southern University law school graduate Gino Thomas, and his brother, UNO student Mashona Thomas, to be initiated into the African Aña fraternity of drummers by the master of Cuban master drummers, Cha chá.  [Chachá is on tour in the US this fall with the Matanzas All Stars.]

The Aña fraternity is an African tradition of the Yoruba people, a privileged caste of musicians who are the only ones able to play the sacred family of Bata drums -- the Iya drum, meaning mother in Yoruba; the middle range drum, the Itotele, representing the father; and the Okonkolo, meaning "little one, which plays a basic pattern which holds the family together," Summers explained.

To be initiated, the men had to commit to memory 22 suites of music, featuring about 600 different rhythmic patterns. Two more of Summers’ students, Marcus Guillory and Michawn McKnighten, will travel to Cuba to be initiated in April. The men traveled under the auspices of the Summers Multi-Ethnic Institute of Arts, run by Bill Summers and his musician wife, Yvette Summers.

New Orleans master drummers are scheduled to perform publicly for the first time at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this spring, opening for Carlos Santana at Lake Front Arena during the first weekend of the festival and performing a Summers composition at the fair grounds with master African drummers from Senegal, Brazil and Cuba.

"We’ve been training people to participate in traditional African ceremonies, things taken away during slavery," Summers said. "Most of the African spiritual practices carried negative connotations that were promoted by those who enslaved Africans. We must evaluate these things ourselves and among our own people. This is really the purpose of my doing this with them."

- reprinted by permission of the author


Los Hombres Calientes in el Nuevo Herald de Miami (Miami Herald, Spanish Edition)

Publicado el domingo, 21 de febrero de 1999 en El Nuevo Herald, Miami

Hacen resonar los lazos yorubas entre Cuba y Nueva Orleans

PAULA GONZALEZ / EFE
NUEVA ORLEANS

Cuatro músicos de Nueva Orleans viajarán a Cuba la próxima semana para incorporarse a la privilegiada fraternidad de Yoruba, formada por percusionistas que mantienen la tradición africana de tipo ceremonial.

Los cuatro músicos que ya se iniciaron en la tradición de Yoruba, Thomas y Jeno Mishona, y Kito y Rashidi Johnson, debieron memorizar diversos "ritmos de los profundos bosques", relacionados a la tradición.

"La tradición se apoya en el respeto del orden natural del universo y a cada elemento de la naturaleza le corresponde un ritmo", explicó Bill Summers, quien ha estado en La Habana en repetidas ocasiones para preservar los lazos musicales y la herencia africana que unen a Cuba y Nueva Orleans.

Summers formó el Instituto Multiétnico de las Artes "para preservar nuestra tradición", aunque advierte que "el principal objetivo del instituto es colaborar por el afianzamiento de una armonía mundial".

Cuba fue uno de los más importantes puertos de escala en los tiempos del comercio de esclavos. Y en el ámbito musical y religioso, las influencias africanas son palpables en la cultura cubana.

"Hemos estado preparando a gente para que participe en ceremonias africanas tradicionales que fueron prohibidas durante la época de la esclavitud", comentó Summers, conocido percusionista del grupo de jazz latino "Los Hombres Calientes" de Nueva Orleans.

"Los afroamericanos, en los tiempos de esclavitud perdieron sus raíces, sus nombres, lengua, música y tradición pero en Cuba todos esos elementos quedaron intactos", agregó.

El viaje de los cuatro músicos coincide con el "mes de la historia negra," que en Estados Unidos se celebra todos los años en febrero y en el cual se conmemora, con diversas actividades, la cultura de los descendientes de los africanos. El maestro cubano Esteban "Cha Chá" Vega, uno de los miembros más antiguos de la tradición en la isla, se encargó de dirigir los rituales sagrados para la iniciación de los cuatro músicos en la fraternidad Yoruba.

"Vega es considerado en Matanzas (Cuba) como el sacerdote de los instrumentos de percusión'', dijo Summers. ``El maestro posee uno de los grupos de tambores Bata más antiguos de la isla".  [Chachá viene ese otoño '99 para una gira de la EE-UU]

La intensa disciplina de estos tambores, que carece de improvisaciones, requiere que los músicos memoricen cada ritmo y aprendan las complejas técnicas de mantenimiento de los instrumentos.

"Las ceremonias de iniciación son muy intensas y muchos de los rituales son guardados en secreto debido al aspecto religioso. La gente implicada en nuestra tradición tiene un alto sentido protector", advirtió Summers.

"Muchos afroamericanos desconocen sus orígenes. Tenemos que aprender sobre nuestro pasado, sea bueno o malo", comenta Summers.

La mayoría de las prácticas espirituales africanas "fueron consideradas como negativas por aquellos que esclavizaron a los africanos", pero ahora "está en manos de nuestra propia gente la evaluación de estos asuntos", añadió.

Discography

homcal.jpg (7060 bytes)

Los Hombres Calientes
List Price: $14.97
Our Price: $13.47
1. Victor El Rojo
2. El Barrio
3. Bill's Q Yvette
4. Stardust
5. Rhumba Para Jason
6. After You're Gone
7. Pulphus Final Frontier
8. Ye Ye O
9. Rompe Saraguey
10. Irvin's Crisis

Click here to listen to the above tunes or to order  ==>  Amazon.com

Review by Fernando Gonzales, music critic at the Miami Herald

"Los Hombres Calientes is an impressive debut by the New Orleans-based band of the same name led by veteran percussionist Bill Summers (Headhunters, Herbie Hancock) and young lions Irvin Mayfield on trumpet and Jason Marsalis on drums. Respect does not have to mean dull, and this sextet draws smartly from Afro-Cuban tradition and jazz. Moreover, in their mix of originals and Afro-Cubanized standards, Summers & Co. are not afraid to take chances. In "Rhumba para Jason," Mayfield growls, moans, and cries over a light, exact rumba groove. "Stardust" suggests a Brazilian-flavored bolero. More intriguingly, the music has a lived-in feel--both when it suggests an urban, genteel ballroom ("Victor el Rojo," "Stardust") and when it evokes a Caribbean neighborhood backyard rich with echoes of Africa ("Ye Ye O").  This is a band worth following." --Fernando Gonzalez

Schedule

For their schedule, check out their excellent web site
www.basinstreetrecords.com/loshombrestourdates.html


Contacting Los Hombres Calientes

http://www.basinstreetrecords.com/main.html


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