Pedrito Martinez & Roman Diaz
Yoruba Soy: A Celebration and Demonstration of Cuban Yoruba Music and Dance
Workshop/Demonstration of an Afro-Cuban folkloric tradition
2 PM-3:30 PM Public Workshop on Cuban Yoruba music and dance
3:45 PM-4:45 PM Talkback with artists and ISM Fellow Maya Berry
5 PM Public Demonstration
“Yoruba Soy” is an invitation to celebrate the skill and beauty entailed in Afro-Cuban music and dance through a public workshop, artist talkback, and performance. Famed Cuban guest artists will display their virtuosic ability to translate sacred artistry from the Santería/Lucumí/Regla de Ocha religion into new contexts for popular understanding and appreciation. Due to Cuba’s historic role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade under Spanish colonial rule, the practices of enslaved Africans from the Yoruba-speaking region (largely in present-day Nigeria) had an important impact on the cultural formation of present-day practitioners. These Yoruba-based artistic repertoires have become a foundational baseline for Cuban cultural patrimony and folkloric expression. Participants will experience the dynamism of this Yoruba diasporic tradition as practiced in Cuba, and now, in the US.
The Public Workshop at 2pm offers a unique opportunity to learn basic components of dance, rhythmic, and vocal technique. Open to all skill levels and ages. No prior experience necessary.
The Artist Talkback at 3:45pm will engage the dancers, singers, and percussionists in a dialogue about their craft, Afro-Cuban culture, and performance experiences in Cuba and in the US.
The Demonstration at 5pm will showcase the technical sophistication of the embodied, musical dialogue between drum, music, and dance, through the artists’ interpretation of oricha (orisha, orìsà) Yoruba diaspora divinities.
Pedrito Martinez and Roman Diaz, former members of the internationally-acclaimed Yoruba Andabo group, are respected priests in the Santería/Lucumí/Cuban Yoruba religion and master musicians in the sacred repertoire. Their secular professional careers in the genre of Afro-Latin Jazz culminated in a 2015 collaboration with Wynton Marsalis’ band at Jazz at Lincoln Center on a new musical suite, “Ochas”, inspired by oricha praise music.
Pedrito Martinez: Bata drums and vocals
Roman Diaz: Bata drums and vocals
Lazaro Dayan Soria: Bata drums and vocals
Dawn Mcken and Nina Rodriguez: Vocals
Melvis Santa Estévez: Dancer
The public is welcome at any or all segments of the afternoon’s presentation.