Learn to Play the Bata Drums Matanzas-Style
El Lenguaje del Tambor: Bata Rhythms and Techniques from Matanzas, Cuba
2 DVDs, 5 hours total, all regions
This comprehensive 2 disc DVD package offers more than 5 hours of demonstrations, tutorials, and interviews about how to play the Afro Cuban bata drums. In Spanish with English subtitles.
The film features the late Master of Afro Cuban Percussion Daniel Alfonso Herrera, who was one of the most sought after percussion instructor in Matanzas, Cuba. His clean, disciplined technique and clear, detailed explanations of the intricacies of Matanzas style bata drumming are invaluable for both the novice and experienced drummer.
Disc 1 is 2 hours long and includes:
- The complete Oro Seco as played at the Cabildo de Santa Teresa.
- Short introductions providing insights into the Orishas (Yoruba deities) and overall techniques for each rhythm.
- An interview with Daniel and the other drummers about the language of the bata drums
- A drumming demonstration in which they play toques which illustrate particularly well how the drums speak.
- A bonus interview with legendary percussionist Esteban "Chachá" Vega Bacallao, one of Daniel's early teachers.
The Oro Seco was professionally filmed to ensure that each of the drummers' hands is clearly visible.
Disc 1's menu offers selections by toque (rhythm), with or without the introduction. You can also choose among the various interviews.
Disc 2 is 3 hours long and features
- Tutorials covering the specific techniques of Okonkolo, Itotele and Iya.
- The complete Oro Seco broken down drum by drum.
- An explanation of how to close a celebration where the sacred bata drums (Aña) are played
- The Close, as played at the Cabildo de Santa Teresa in Matanzas
Disc 2 was also professionally filmed to focus on Daniel's hands from the front and from the sides (inu and chacha) to illustrate the proper formation of the hands and the various techniques used in each rhythm.
Disc 2's menu offers selections by toque (rhythm) and by drum, in addition to the individual tutorials and the Close.
Complete transcriptions are also available, either with the DVDs or separately. The transcriptions reflect the Oro Seco as it is played on the DVDs.
Bata Rhythms from Matanzas, Cuba: Transcriptions of the Oro Seco, Third Edition offers the most detailed and complete documentation of the fundamentals of Matanzas-style bata drumming ever produced.
In this edition, the 19 rhythms were completely re-transcribed by Kristin Olson, a graduate student of Michael Spiro's and an extraordinary young percussionist. Michael, an internationally acclaimed percussionist and long-time student of Daniel's as well as of many other well-known bataleros, supervised and reviewed the project from beginning to end.
Priced at the cost of a one-hour lesson with Daniel Alfonso, these DVDs and transcriptions are a goldmine of information not available anywhere else.
The DVDs and the transcriptions are available separately or as a package.