Mala Lengua  
 
AfroCubaWeb
  Home - Portal | Music - Música | Authors - Autores | Arts - Artes 
  Site Map - Mapa del Sitio | News - Noticias | Search ACW - Buscar en ACW 
 
  Mala Lengua
 

Dr. Ivor L. Miller


Calabar Ekpe leaders, body-masks, and musicians at Ivor Miller's investiture as a chief (Isun-Mbakara) 
at the Efe Ekpe Eyo Ema (Ekoretonko), in Calabar, Nigeria, 2004.

Ivor L. Miller is a scholar  focused on Cuban cultural history in the trans-Atlantic context. He has conducted research in Cuba since 1991. His dissertation (1995) focused on the Lukumi-Yoruba initiation systems of Ocha and Ifa (Santería) in Cuban society, the relationship of its practitioners and symbols to the nation's political class, as well as its influences in the USA (See Miller 2000). In collaboration with Dr. Wande Abimbola, in 1997 he published a book on the trans-Atlantic reach of Yoruba culture,  in Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and the USA. Recent  publications treat the migration of Cross River peoples of Nigeria and Cameroon in West Africa who established  the Abakuá mutual aid society in Cuba (19th century), as well as the classical Bata drums of Ocha/Santeria, and their recent expansion  in popular and sacred music in the Western Hemisphere and globally.

Ivor Miller is a cultural historian specializing in the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and the Americas. His book Aerosol Kingdom (UP of Mississippi, 2002) documents and interprets the creation of Hip Hop culture in New York City from its beginnings in the late 1960s till the present, focusing on the Afro-Caribbean and African-American contributions resulting from 20th century migrations. Miller's current book, Voice of the Leopard (UP of Mississippi, 2008), documents the little known history of the Cuban Abakuá, a mutual-aid institution derived from the Ekpe (leopard) society of the Cross River region of Nigeria and Cameroon. Working with both Ékpč and Abakuá leaders, he has documented the foundation of the society in 19th century Havana, and its adaptaions to Cuban society. Abakuá lore in Cuba has proven useful to Cross River peoples as they reconstruct their own cultural history. In  2001 he helped facilitate the first-ever encounter between the Efik of Nigeria and the related Abakuá of Cuba - an event sponsored by the Efik National Association at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. Since then a series of further encounters were organized, in Michigan (2003), in Calabar (2004), and in Paris (2007).

Ivor Miller's collected papers and field recordings are housed in the Amherst College Library.

Miller has also written about Cuban artists working with initiation-symbols from African-derived systems, for example Juan Boza, Leandro Soto, and Francisco "Gordillo" Arredondo:

Kongo Cruzado: Lukumí and Kongo Identities in Cuba: the Art of Francisco ‘Gordillo’ ArredondoThe International Review of African American Art. Vol. 20, No. 2., 2005 by Ivor Miller  [2MB PDF]

Francisco 'Gordillo' Arredondo, "Echu"

Ivor Miller wrote Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City in 2002 and collaborated with Wande Abimbola on Ifá Will Mend Our Broken World: Thoughts on Yorůbá Culture in West Africa and the Diaspora in 1997.

Jesús Pérez and the transculturation of the Cuban batá drum.” Dialago. n. 7. Center for Latino Research. DePaul University. Spring, 2003

Religious Symbolism in Cuban Political Performance, 2000

Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City, 11/02

Presentation  on Ékpč and Abakuá by Dr. Ivor Miller - 27 August 2012 2:00pm, National Museum of African Art’s Lecture Hall, Washington DC - live musictop
With the support of traditional intellectuals as well as musicians and dancers from Cameroon and Cuba.

Ngolo CameroonSenior Fellow Dr. Ivor Miller will be giving a presentation on Monday 27 August at 2:00pm. This talk will be in the National Museum of African Art’s Lecture hall and will include some special guests! Please forward this message on to anyone you think may be interested. See below for a synopsis of the talk:

For centuries, the Ékpč ‘leopard’ society of the Cross River region in southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon was the supreme institution of governance that also embodied esoteric teachings about the life-cycle. African migrants in colonial Cuba recreated Ékpč in the early 1800s to protect members in a slave society and to gain their freedom. They called it Abakuá, after the Ŕbŕkpŕ community of Calabar, Nigeria. During this process, Abakuá scribes documented large portions of their cultural history in 19th century manuscripts. Hidden from outsiders until recently, this little-known ‘people’s history’ is being shared with West African cultural leaders who are using it to understand their own pre-colonial traditional institutions and arts.

With reference to photographs in the NMAfA collections, Ivor Miller will present key themes of this story with the support of traditional intellectuals as well as musicians and dancers from Cameroon and Cuba. The foci will be on trans-Atlantic cultural identities, symbols of ‘universal motherhood’, and the functions of ‘life-giving’ drums. The role of the Museum as a link between continental Africans and African-descendants in the USA to explore their legacies in the arts will be addressed. Traditional chiefs from Cameroon who live in the Washington D.C. region will participate.

See http://ndiboyevengo.blogspot.com/2012/08/senir-smithsonian-fellow-chief-dr-ivor.html for further info at N'dibo Yeve N'go.

A Cultural History of Cross River Civilization, National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC 11/28/2011

Ivor Miller, Senior Fellow, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art presents
 
After recreating African institutions of governance in the Caribbean during the colonial era, African descendants also documented large portions of their cultural history in 19th century manuscripts. Hidden from outsiders until recently, this little-known story has been shared with West African cultural leaders who are using it to understand their own pre-colonial traditional institutions and arts. With reference to photographs and objects in the NMAfA collections, Ivor Miller will present key themes of this story with the support of musicians and dancers from Cameroon and Cuba. The focus will be the Ekpč ‘leopard’ society of the Cross River region in southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon, and the historically related Cuban Abakuá society. Traditional chiefs from Cameroon who live in the Washington DC region will participate.
 
Time
Monday, November 28 @ 4 p.m.
 
Place
National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
 

 Ibiono-Ibom, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, 2011

Colloquium on Language, History and Culture, 12/23/2010, University of Calabartop

National Museum, Calabar, Old Residency Gallery
December 23, 2010.


Sponsored by The Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw Center for Indigenous Languages, History and Culture of the University
of Calabar, The Department of History of the University of Calabar, the National Commission for Museums and
Monuments (Old Residency, Calabar).

Speakers:
Engineer Bassey Efion Bassey.
“Ékpč the Teacher”

Dr. Ivor L. Miller.
“Cross River Sources for Ékpč in the Americas.”

Dr. Ňfíón Ŕně Ňfíón.
“The ‘Primitive’ in the Contemporary: Recurrent Socio-cultural issues in E.N. Amaku’s works.”

Dr. David Imbua.
“Slave Trade and Slavery remembered: A Study of the Slave History Museum in Calabar.”

Professor Ňkňn E. Ůyŕ, Chair

Chief Dr. Ivor Miller is interviewed on Cross River TVtop, 4/14/2010
www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSzVRBnSIU

NdiboYeveNgo April 14, 2010Dr. Miller talks with Mrs Offiong Ani Offiong about Ekpé traditions preserved in Cuba for over 200 years and the way in which these traditions have been faithfully preserved by Abakua members from lodges in Havana and Matanzas. www.crbconline.net

Calabar, Nigeria, Calabar Mgbe honor Ivor Miller, 30/5/2008

[We note that in Calabar the role of women is much stronger than among Abakua in Cuba. The general manager of the CRBC TV station, for example, is a woman as are many members of her staff and her board. -- Andy Petit]

 

Calabar, Nigeria, Calabar Mgbe honor Ivor Miller, 30/5/2008

For Miller's send-off from Nigeria, Calabar Mgbe prepared a statement of appreciation, read at the home of its President, Chief, E. E. Imona, in Big Qua Town, Calabar.

 

University of Wisconsin, 9/22/2007

Afro-Cuba at the Crossroads: Arts, Culture, History, conference. University of Wisconsin at Madison. Nov 30, 2007

"Cross River Philosophy and Arts in Cuban Abakua"
Ivor L. Miller, Reseeach Fellow, African Studies Center, Boston University
The Abakua mutual-aid society of Cuba was created in the 1830s based upon the Ekpe leopard society of West Africa's Cross River basin; both societies are organized into a hierarchy of grades, each with a specific function. Abakua masquerades and drum construction, as well as musical structures, are largely based on Ekpe models. The presentation offers examples of Cross River expressive arts in Abakua ritual performance. Discussant - Henry Drewal **To listen to his radio program on this topic (can be downloaded and listened to -- it is up for a limited time on-line) go to: www.afropop.org/radio/radio_program/ID/686/The%20Voice%20of%20the%20Leopard

Caribbean Cultural Center, NYC, 9/28/2006top

"West African Ekpe and the Cuban Abakua, an historical continuum." With  percusionists Roman Díaz and Vicente Sanchez. Sept. 28, Caribbean Cultural Center in Manhattan. Co-presenter, Chief Akanji of Nigeria's Ogboni society.  See also Oriki Omi Odara, Roman Diaz' group

Amherst College, 4/02, 2002 - "New Evidence for the African Diaspora in the Cuban Abakua Society."

Lecture / performance by Dr. Ivor Miller, Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, accompanied by Omí Odara, a five member performance troupe directed by 'Roman' Díaz. Mr. Díaz is a title holder of the Abakua society, and a member of the sacred bata drum guild, Ańá. Omí Odara performed Ireme masquerade dances and related chants, derived from the region of Calabar, Nigeria and recreated in 19th century Cuba, where they are integral to  Abakua rites.

Graduate Center City University of New York, 3/15/2002 - "African Diaspora and the Cuban Abakuá Society."

Sponsored by the Cuba Project/Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, The Graduate Center City University of New York.

"The African Diaspora and the Cuban Abakuá Society" 
Ivor Miller, Cultural Historian and Fellow, Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC), The City College of New York. A lecture demonstration with Roman Diaz and Pedro Martinez. 

Publicationstop

 Ivor L. Miller                                                                                                                   April  2012

Ph.D, Northwestern University; M.A., Yale University

Publications

BOOKS  

2011        Voice of the Leopard: African Secret Societies and Cuba. UP of Mississippi, printed in Nigeria by the Center for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC).

2009
        Voice of the Leopard: African Secret Societies and Cuba. UP of Mississipi

2002        Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City. UP of Mississippi. Reprinted 2012

1997        Ifá Will Mend Our Broken World: Thoughts on Yorůbá Culture in West Africa and the Diaspora. Wande Abimbola. Interviews and introduction by Ivor Miller. AIM Books, Roxbury, MA. 206 pages.

ARTICLES:  

2012
Bongo Ita : leopard society music and language in West Africa, Western Cuba, and New York City, Journal of Africa and Black Diaspora. 5.1 : 85-103. Routledge P.

“Ékpč ‘leopard’ society in Africa and the Americas: Influence and Values of an Ancient Tradition.” With Dr. Mathew Ojong, University of Calabar. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Special Issue on “Secret or Private Organisations, Race & Ethnicity.” U.K. Pps. 1-16.

2011
"Faith: Abakuá Society." Cuba: People, Culture, History. Encyclopedia: Charles Scribner's Sons. pps. 287-292.

"Language: Abakuá in Cuba and its influence on Spanish usage." Cuba: People, Culture, History. Encyclopedia: Charles Scribner's Sons. pps. 535-536.

2009 
Naturalizing identity politics. A review of Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness. DVD. |H-Net Reviews. 

Honoring Verger’s Legacy: Pierre Verger: Messenger Between Two Worlds. DVD. Grande Premio Cinema Brasil, 2000. 83 minutes. H-Net Reviews in the Humanities. 

The genesis of African and Indian cooperation in colonial North America: An Interview with Helen Hornbeck Tanner. Ethnohistory Quarterly. 56.2 (Spring, 2009) American Society for Ethnohistory.

2007

Cantos Abakuá de Cuba: examen de la nueva evidencia lingüística e histórica de la diáspora africana. Catauro: Revista cubana de antropología. Havana: Fundación Fernando Ortiz. Ańo 8. No. 15. pps. 4-33. Translation of my 2005 African Studies Review essay.

“Abakuá: The Signs of Power.” Program notes for a performance and exhibition of paintings by Leandro Soto. Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Gallery. Arizona State University. Phoenix. February. 

2006
                            

Liner notes to Tambor Lukumí: Andrés Chacón y Iré Iré. Música Afro-Cubana. Three CD set. EarthCDs. 2006. 27 pages.

2005                            

Cuban Abakuá chants: examining new evidence for the African  Diaspora.” African Studies Review. April. 2005, v. 48. n.1.pp. 23-58.

How I went to Calabar and became an Ékpč Ambassador to the Cuban Abakuá brotherhood.” WARA Newsletter (West African Research Association). Spring, 2005. Pps. 11-13. 

Kongo Cruzado: Lukumí and Kongo Identities in Cuba: the Art of Francisco ‘Gordillo’ Arredondo.” The International Review of African American Art. Vol. 20, No. 2. Pp. 16-24. [PDF - 2MB]

Abakuá entry (1000 words). Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas. Colin Palmer, Editor in Chief. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.

Graffiti entry (2000 words). Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States. Vol. 2. Ilan Stavans, Ed. Grolier Academic. Pp. 266-70.

“On Hip-Hop”; “Ňgún and Aerosol Art”; “The Trains and Aerosol”; “’Writing’, Not ‘Graffiti’.” The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

2004                            

The Formation of African Identities in the Americas: Spiritual ‘ethnicity’.” Contours: A Journal of the African Diaspora. 2, 2 : 193-222.

Introduction.” Special Issue. Contours: A Journal of the African Diaspora. 2, 2 : 141-156.

“Notes from the Underground: the Increasing Relevance of Hip Hop” Black Renaissance/ Renaissance Noire. New York Univ. 6, 1 : 146-154. 

“El tambor como madre en la sociedad Abakuá.” Madre África: conceptos maternos en escultura tradicional africana. Centro Cultural Conde/ Duque. Madrid, Spain. (April-June) : 12-16. 

“Introduction.” A Quatre Mains. CRASH/ H. Di Rosa catalogue. Galerie Speerstra. Paris, France. Pp. 1-2. 

2003               top

Jesús Pérez and the transculturation of the Cuban batá drum.” Dialago. n. 7. Center for Latino Research. DePaul University. Spring : 70-74.

2000                           

A Secret Society Goes Public: The Relationship Between Abakuá and  Cuban Popular Culture.” African Studies Review. vol. 43, no. 1 (April, 2000)  pp. 161 - 88. (Mine was the first article published in this journal to use tone markers for West African tonal languages). 

 “Religious Symbolism in Cuban Political Performance.” TDR: A Journal of Performance Studies. Vol. 44, no. 2 (T166) pp. 30 - 55.  [PDF, 2.5 MB]

“Obras de fundación: la Sociedad Abakuá en los ańos 90.” Caminos: Revista Cubana de Pensamiento Socioteológico. La Habana: Centro Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nos. 13-14 : 24 - 35. 

1996                            

“We, The Colonized Ones: Peruvian Artist Kukuli Speaks About Her Art and Experience.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 20. 1 : 1 - 25.

1995                           

"Belief and Power in Contemporary Cuba: The Dialogue Between Santería Practitioners and Revolutionary Leaders.” Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Performance Studies, Northwestern University. Advisor, Margaret T. Drewal.   

“The Singer As Priestess: Interviews with Two Cuban Artists.” Sounding Off!: Music as Subversion/ Resistance/Revolution. Eds., Ron Sakolsky & Fred Wei-han Ho. New York: Autonomedia. 287 - 304.   

“We, The Colonized Ones: Kukuli Speaks.” Third Text: Third World Perspectives on Contemporary Art & Culture 32 (Autumn) : 94 - 102.

“Eno Washington: the memoirs of a Mississippi shaman.” (with Jill Cutler) Race & Class 36. 3 : 21-38.   

“Interview with Abdel R. Salaam,” director of Forces of Nature Dance Company, New York City. New York Public Library Performing Art- Dance Division. [6 cassettes — *MGZMT 3-1870].

1994                           

“Celina González: The “Queen” of the Punto Cubano.” (with Idania Diaz) LUCERO: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 5 : 9 - 20. 

 “Celina González: Queen of the Punto Cubano.” Trans. Ivor Miller. The Beat 13. 2 : 46 - 47.

1993                           

“Guerrilla Artists of New York City.” Race & Class 35. 1 : 27 - 40.

1992                           

“No More Carnivals: Cubans Struggle to Survive Their Economic Crisis.” International Forum at Yale 12. 1 : 23 - 27.

1991                            

“Night Train: The Power That Man Made.” New York Folklore  XVII. 1-2 : 21 - 43.

1990  

“If It Hasn't Been One Of Color: an interview with Roy DeCarava.” Callaloo: Journal of African-American and African Arts and Letters.13. 4 : 847 – 857. 

Video Program - DANCE ON THE WIND

Illustrates the life and work of Eno D. Washington, an African-American dancer, who has studied the connections between African and African-American dance forms. The program intersperses interviews with Washington with lively performance footage and remarkable archival footage of African and African-American dance.

Winner of the 1992 Connecticut Film & Video competition.  Judge's Special Merit Award, 1993 New England Film & Video Competition Broadcast on Connecticut Public TV. Distributed by Cinema Guild, Inc. 

Produced by Marty Frame, Ivor Miller, Jeremy Brecher and Jill Cutler
1994, color, 30 mins., video
Uses: Anthropology, African Studies, African-American Studies, Dance

Contacting Ivor Millertop

Research Fellow
African Studies Center
Boston University
Boston, MA
email: imiller_AT_hampshire.edu

 

Contacting AfroCubaWeb

Electronic mail
acw_AT_afrocubaweb.com [replace _AT_ with @]

[AfroCubaWeb] [Site Map] [Music] [Arts] [Authors] [News] [Search this site]

Copyright © 1997 AfroCubaWeb, S.A.