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Contacting the Festival Organizers

Traveling to Cuba


Festival Municipal de la Rumba, '99

Festival de la Rumba, '97

Festival Internacional de la Rumba, Matanzas
June, 2001

The festival takes place every two years.  This year it is an "internacional" event, meaning they encourage the presence of foreigners. Los Munequitos typically play, as well a number of other bands from Matanzas and elsewhere on the island. We hope to be getting details soon. See details of the 1997 festival for an impressive listing of rumba groups.

Due to the arrest of the head of the Centro de la Musica in Matanzas for embezzlement of musicians' money, this festival has been rescheduled to June 2001.

Festival Municipal de la Rumba, Matanzas, Oct 8, 9 & 10, 1999

Festival Municipal de la Rumba, Matanzas
Oct 8, 9 & 10, 1999
Festival de la Rumba, Matanzas
Fall, 2000

The festival this year is a "local" event, termed "municipal." Los Munequitos, however, are playing for the 3 days as are a number of other bands in Matanzas! And there will be few tourists...

Festival de la Rumba, 10/97

This festival features a very impressive list of groups, over 14.  The Title is "Grupos Portadores" which refers to those groups which carry the old African traditions. We believe this to be new terminology, a part of Cuba's growing celebration of its African roots.  This festival will also take place next year around the same time and will be a larger scale event, or at least organized for at least a national scope.

Dedicated this festival to the 40th anniversary of the group Afrocuba de Matanzas, the 3 day annual event features intense rumba in the province that invented it -- no matter what they say in Havana! OK, we'll give the Habaneros a little credit... Actually, guaguanco, one of the types of rumba, is an invention of the Calle family in Matanzas -- they are of Efo origin in the Cross River Delta. The Efik and the Efo gave us Abakwa in Cuba, and you can see similarities between the rumba and some Abakwa dancing.

Note that the real Cuban rumba has sometimes been mistaken for son or some watered down American music. The real rumba is very African in style, with complex percussion and vocals. Some of the more famous rumba groups in Cuba include Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Clave y Guaguanco.

Pello and others in Afrocuba de Matanzas invented the Batarumba, a style of rumba that makes use of the Yoruba batá drums, a really stiking innovation.

Among the groups featured:

Afrocuba de Matanzas

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas


Rumbero Maior

Columbia del Puerto - from the port of Cardenas, down the coast from Matanzas

Ile Ache - also from Cardenas

Oba Ilu - groups of youths, just back from a tour of Denmark. Includes some grandsons and nephews of Chacha and Goyito.

Madera - play Bricamo music, from the Calle family

Ojun Degara - an Arara group, consisting principally of the Baró family in Jovellanos

Congo Luanda - Congo group also from Jovellanos, just won first prize in Santiago last Spring.

Ganga - from Perico, a town beloved of Lydia Cabrera.


Radames y sus tambores - new group featuring outstanding professionals dedicated to the revival of old African forms. {Radames passed on, to our great sorrow]

All of these groups are steeped in African traditions. So hop on a plane and get down there! See Traveling to Cuba for some suggestions.

Contacting the Festival Organizers

Centro de la Musica, Matanzas (for 2000)
Phone: and
You might have to call repeatedly as these lines can be hard to get through to.

Also, we hear that Juan Garcia, the new head of the Conjunto Folklorico, is very actively involved in this festival.

Contacting AfroCubaWeb

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