After many years of being consumed by this tradition, its people and culture, I feel like the time is right for me to become more deeply involved.
I got a call from Jose Francisco Barroso, and he asked if we would study with him, in order to support his folkloric work in the future. A call like that, from such a talented priest, dancer, singer, percussionist.. this cat has studied from the best and knows the tradition well.
From the streets of Havana, to the best Folkloric schools of Cuba.. he has been well trained to take advantage of his amazing gift of movement and rhythm.
(he and Pancho Quinto pictured)
He is one of those natural dancers who the gods favor, striking him with convulsive possession on a regular basis. When I see him dance, I wonder why more people dont follow these people around like pop stars...
.. well, some of us do, actually, but I feel I can contribute to this tradition at this point. And all my tagging along has added another set of hands to the cause.
Im working on the songs, along with the Itotele.. reviewing my Onconcolo.. working on the dances.
There has to be 22 of them.. ;)
It must be much easier to be monotheistic! jaja
Anyway.. Its going to be grand to play for Barroso, as he not only is on top of his folkore, but he is simply Regal.
He and his wife Coleen are like folkloric royalty, with all the class of the first family. It is so very cool to see them work together, in performance, in class... Some seriously proud and kind people.
Francisco gave an instructional speech after the performance pictured here.. last month at the museum for the African Diaspora.
He spoke about how the Orishas help the community work together, play by the communal rules, and how it provides stability and support in its structure and philosophy... I was a bit blown away..
This cat is driven to perform and teach his tradition because he sees the great value it has added to the lives with whom he is so familiar.
Long ago, I wondered if I could really call myself a community activist, when music, its performance and production, was all I was providing to my locals. Now I can safely say that it is, and will provide for my community in a very substantial way.
You should see how healthy the kids are in this tradition. Every adult around them is an extended family member in a functional way, lending support and love among many.
Once again, feeling so blessed to be a part of it.