CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Orlando "Puntilla" Rios may he RIP

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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Orlando "Puntilla" Rios may he RIP

I was so sad to hear that Orlando "Puntilla" Rios has died - A profound loss for the tradition.

He was truly one of the most important folklorists of our time, and i bet he will be more famous in the future than he was during his life. What a profound impact, this very gentile man with heavy hands had on players and traditionalists around the world. He was one of those special people whom, we, as a human race, were so very fortunate to live among.

The news from mentor and guiding bother in the tradition, Tito Garcia:

Orlando "Puntilla" Ros passed away this morning while hospitalized in New
York, about 1 a.m. EST due to complications following a triple-bypass heart
surgery done a few days ago. My condolences to his family and all his Anya

Tito and I were trying to get his Maestro Rios and cats out here this summer... he couldnt make it, and now i know why.

...more info from Felix Sanabria... from 'Ralph' on the conga board at

'Master traditional vocalist and Afro Cuban drummer Orlando "Puntilla" Rios has joined the ancestors on August 12th, 2008. Passing away early this morning, due to complications from heart surgery, he was a prolific musician, drummer and close friend of the Caribbean Cultural Center, African Diaspora Institute.

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He arrived from Cuba in 1981 with the Mariel boatlift. He formed an Afro-Cuban folkloric group called Nueva Generacion (New Generation) bringing the evolution of Afro Cuban rhythms to the New York Afro Latino community that for too long had been inaccessible. An initiate in the varied Afro Cuban belief systems of Cuba, elders had trained him and passed on their knowledge of el "fundamento" (the secrets of sacred drum) so that he possessed extensive knowledge on the sacred intelligence and understanding of the rituals and sacred musical uniqueness of each tradition.

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Orlando "Puntilla" Rios was the consummate teacher and mentor to students and professional musicians interested in learning the history, traditional and popular rhythms that are the expressions of African traditions in Cuba. His mastery of the two-headed, sacred bata drums and teachings have left a school of master drummers that will follow his teachings. Orlando "Puntilla's" Rios performances with jazz musicians and popular artists such as Celia Cruz, Mario Bauza, Chico O'Farrill among many others has contributed to the popularization and internationalization of the sacred rhythms of Afro Cuba to the world.

The community of Lucumi's/Yoruba's in the Americas mourn the passing of Orlando "Puntilla" Rios who was the musical director for the documentary "When the Spirits Dance Mambo." As a "Padrino – Godfather" of the Caribbean Cultural Center – African Diaspora Institute the Board of Directors, Staff and Membership honor his spirit.'

more info, check out these other very sweet blogs..

Some of his fine work can be found in many places, but here is a start.. ... 856&sr=8-3 ... 921&sr=1-2

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