Oración Afro-Cubana : for Flute, Bass Clarinet and Percussion
by Andrián Pertout (1999)
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From the CD Renascence
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The batá drum is a double-headed hourglass-shaped drum and is generally associated with the rites of the Afro-Cuban Lucumí cult or Santeria, a traditional African religion introduced by West African slaves to the region in the 16th century. In this religious setting it is considered sacred, due to the belief of possessing the power to communicate with the deities. In light of this fact, the playing of the drum was once reserved for men only, although this gender prejudice is no longer relevant today. It is usually carved from a solid piece of log, and is fitted with goatskin heads of contrasting sizes. Independent cords or leather thongs endow these heads with two separate tunings, and another cord secures the drum horizontally on the player's lap. It is traditionally played in an ensemble that includes three sizes, which from largest to smallest are known as the iyá, itólele and okónkolo. The iyá is formally played by the master drummer, and is responsible for the most complex parts. 'Oración Afro-Cubana' or 'Afro-Cuban Prayer' utilizes the rhythmic nuances of the batá drum rhythm 'Chachá le kpá fúñ', which may be indistinctly dedicated to numerous orishas in ritual ceremonies and has a secular setting called 'de gualubia'. Although this rhythm begins in 6/8, it is common practice to include a transition to 4/4 (or 2/4) at some point in a piece.
Instrumentation: Flute, bass clarinet, percussion (5 players: okónkolo, itólele, iyá, shekere, claves).
Duration: 3 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
First performance: 9 May 00. Melba Hall, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia
The composer notes the following influences, subjects etc associated with thie work:
The batá drum, Afro-Cuban Lucumí cult or Santeria Batá drum rhythm ‘Chachá le kpá fúñ’
Performances of this work
28 Jun 03: Sala Diana Franceschi di Villa Mazzacorati, Terza Rassegna Internazionale di Composizione ‘Alfeo Gigli’, Bologna, Italy
9 May 00: Melba Hall, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia
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