CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Maestro Carlos Aldama - from

Friday, May 30, 2008

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Maestro Carlos Aldama - from

Carlos Aldama
Oni-Sango, Omo Aña, Maestro

""You may ask why is this man so important? It is from the prestigious lineage from which this "slave to the drums" descends.

The knowledge that he has was passed to him orally by his teacher, Jesus Perez "Oba Ilu", original musical director of Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba and favorite student of Pablo Roche Cunal, "Akilakua", the man co-responsible with famed Cuban folkloric historian Fernando Ortiz for bringing the Bata drums out of the religious setting for its first public appearance, circa 1935. When Jesus passed on, Mr. Aldama became the musical director for the next fifteen years of the total twenty-eight years in which he remained with CFNC.

He is a co-founder of the Ministry of Culture, Havana Cuba (1959) and Co-founder of Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba (1962). Both the Cuban government and the Ministry of Culture have recognized him. He has been awarded a Doctorate on Folkloric Percussion and has a degree from The School of Music Ignacio Servantes Institute of Superior Art (ISA).

His life has been dedicated to the teaching and the performance of Afro-Cuban music. This passion and commitment to the rich life of Cuban people, has afforded him to teach and perform music throughout Europe, the Americas and Africa.

Master of percussion and song in;Yoruba Bata and Bembe, Congas-Palo Iyesa, Arara, Yuca, Makuta, Bricamo and Bantu. Rumba-Yambu, Guaguanco, Columbia, and Comparsa.

He has worked with the National Symphony of Cuba as well as composed the music for Alicia Alonzo's ballet The River and the Forest. He was musical director under famed playwright Roberto Blanco and famed director Alex Valdez, of the Karl Marx Theatre, Havana Cuba. He has laid musical tracks for soap operas and film. He has recorded with Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, Lazaro Ros & Groupo Oru, Mercedita Valdez, Groupo Son 14, Sentesi, Mescla, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Sergio Vitier, Adalberto Alvarez y su Son and various other artists.

He is routinely "called in" as Akpwon and Elder (master of ceremonies) of ritual Afro Cuban Aña ceremonies in the Lukumi Santeria religion.

His teaching skills and style have brought him to universities and children classrooms and several Bay Area cultural institutions. He has been awarded an Artist in Residence award for three years in a row from the California Arts Council.

Mr. Aldama currently lives in the Oakland - SF - Bay Area and is available for lectures, consultations, private classes, performances and workshops.

If you are already a student of the bata drum; Mr. Aldama is selling some instructional bata drum videos which are a must if you are a devotee of the religion since he himself is playing on both videos, there are two videos. In Video I Mr. Aldama is playing all the parts, on Video II Mr. Aldama is playing the iya from Oro Seco all the way to Eggun. The videos are $75.00 a piece if anyone is interested in purchasing contact this e-mail address:

to contact Carlos Aldama. Please call
510. 351-5841 or


  1. Carlos Aldama is also an very nice and humble guy!

  2. Wow- Tony, I had no idea this man's creds! I will check him out soon! Maybe post some events or calendar on your blog? Peace

  3. Nice blog, looking forward to more in this series. I would just add that maestro Carlos has his own website now too:


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