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Learn to Play the Bata Drums Matanzas-Style
El Lenguaje del Tambor: Bata Rhythms and Techniques from Matanzas, Cuba
-- Kabiosile, featuring Daniel Alfonso

Contacting Daniel Alfonso

Daniel Elias Alfonso Herrera

Daniel Alfonso is a master bata player and gives lessons to many student in his house on Vellardes, a few doors down from Chacha, with whom he plays.  He is a member of the far-flung Villamil family, and so descends from two musicians kidnapped from Oyo in the 1880's.

Among his students he counts Michael Spiro, of the University of Berkley, California, and Mark Lamson, two master level bata players in the US who play together in Bata Ketu.


"Born July 20th, 1946, son of Miguel Alfonso Alfonso and Juana Herrera Villamil.

In my apprentiship in folkloric rythms, I began in 1957 with los Tambores de Ricardo Fantoma. My first teacher in the rites of bata was Jorge Villamil, now deceased. In 1967 I joined los Tambores de Esteban Vega Vacallao, better known as Chacha.

I belong to the Cabildo Santa Teresa de Jesus, which is the cabildo of the Villamil family. Its rituals include: Guiro, Bembe, Bata, plegarias, palos, and other spiritual things, as well as Santeria in general. This is located in Matanzas Street, between Salamanca and Santa Isabel, in the city of Matanzas. The principal guide is Tomasa Villamil Cardenas, who made ocha 60 years ago and is my aunt. My mother also has ocha. My father did not, but was devoted to San Lazaro. I have medio aciento for Oggun. I learned to play Arara with Radames and Olokun with Chacha. I belonged to the folkloric group Los Caribeños as well Los Milagrosos.

I am the Isun Ecue of Ucano Beconsi Entominon Sanga Abacua [Abakwa, from the Efik/Efo of the Niger delta].

I am percussionist of the Afrocuban group Radames y Sus Tambores."

Contacting Daniel Alfonso

Through Diosdados Ramos' phone:

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