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Concert at La Peña, Sep 12

Contacting Bata Ketu

Write up by Bembe Records

Bata Ketu: A Musical Interplay Of Cuba And  Brazil: the CD

Michael Spiro page

Bata Ketu
Michael Spiro/Mark Lamson

Two very talented American musicians who know their Cuban music.   They are hugely popular in Matanzas, where they are both asked to play bata at toques whenever they go there.   What greater compliment?

Michael Spiro is an internationally recognized percussionist, recording artist, and educator, known specifically for his work in the Latin music field.  He has performed on hundreds of records, co-produced several instructional videos for Warner Bros. Publications (featuring such renowned artists as David Garibaldi, Changuito, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Ignacio Berroa), and produced seminal recordings in the Latin music genre, including Orquesta Batachanga, Grupo Bata-Ketu, and Grupo Ilu-Aña. 

Concert at LaPeña, Berkeley, CA, September 12

Bata Ketu: Afro-Cuban & Afro-Brazilian Yoruban music featuring Brazilian "Mestre dos Atabaques" (Master of the Drums) Jorge Alabe, Cubans Bobi Céspedes and Regino Jimenez, with Michael Spiro and Mark Lamson. These talented
musicians will be joined by an all star group of Bay Area musicians & dancers for the first live performance of the material from the Bata Ketu CD. Explore the common African roots as well as the distinct evolution of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music through this premiere performance and workshops. 8pm $15 Advance tickets at La Tienda.

From Bembe Records' write-up                               

"In the ebb and flow of life, things come together and things fall apart. This constant rhythm is observable in day to day life as well as in historic overviews of centuries past. Bata Ketu is a musical  Inter-Play consisting of six acts. It tells the story of Yoruba music uprooted from Mother Africa, transplanted in Cuba and Brazil, evolving separately over time, and then reuniting today. In this reunion of two long-separated "siblings", the differences and similarities create a new, dynamic art form through celebratory performance. 

During the long years of slavery in which the Yoruba and their descendants suffered in Cuba and Brazil, their ancestral deities, the Orisha, would appear in the physical world by way of possessing   initiates. Through a living art form of song, drums and dance, the orisha have lived on far from the shores of Africa. One could say that every time the orisha's rhythms are played or their songs sung, they exist in our physical world.

Bata Ketu is the culmination of years of experimentation with this fascination and is as much a statement about the music of Cuba and Brazil as it is about the composers/performers themselves.

When you listen to this recording, you will hear Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments accompanying the call and response songs dedicated to the orisha. These spiritual songs invoke a beauty and power which communicate directly to a person's inner being. The songs come from both the Cuban (Lucumi) and Brazilian (Candomble) branches. In some cases, Cuban drums accompany Brazilian songs, while Brazilian drums and rhythms accompany Cuban songs. In other instances two versions of the same song, one from each country, are sung back to back. Although both versions are clearly the same song, the difference between the Brazilian and Cuban flavors delights the senses. Moreover, there is a wonderful sense of balance in Bata Ketu, as the Cuban songs are called by a woman, and the Brazilian songs are called by a man. These arrangements not only demonstrate a thorough knowledge of both lineages, but the variety and the cleverness of the groupings create new and original musical textures which can be appreciated by novice and aficionado alike."

Web page at Bembe Records

The CD

bataketucvr.jpg (40599 bytes)

Michael Spiro/Mark Lamson
Bata Ketu: A Musical Interplay Of Cuba And  Brazil


1.. Sambata
2. Guiro
3. Ketu
4. Chon Chon Abe-Abukenke
5. Samba De Roda
6. Makuta
7. Nigbe (Forest)
8. Kuru Kuru Reggae
9.  Apnije-Kota
10  RumbOlodum
11. Kuru Kuru Reggae
12. Nigbe
13. Biti Laye
14. Emi Alado
15. Oba Ere
16. Sato-Afrekete
17. Bata Ketu
18. Jicongo
19. Samba Kuru Ru
20. Cha Cha Reggae Fun
21. Zabumbata
22. Ketulode
23. Zabumbata
24. Aguere-The Hunt
25. Chon Chon Roda
27. Iyesa
28. Water Vs. Metal
29. Sambao
30. Ana Ilu


Aug. 1 Batu Ketu
Cuban & Brazilian music & dance
Stanford Jazz Festival
Dinkelspiel Aud., Stanford Univ., Stanford (O) 8PM, $28, $20


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