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Posts Tagged ‘Yoruba Pantheon’

African Women Djembefola

The exchange of culture between West Africa and the United States  and Europe is mutual.  One of the greatest impact of western culture upon West Africa is the shift towards women playing traditional Drums of Power such as the djembe. The following clip shows a group of young women performing with their teacher on the djembe, a feat that would have resulted in severe repercussion for the women  and the teacher as recent as 15 years ago.  No doubt, the  fact that women are the greatest seekers of African  drum teachers in the United States and Europe is a prominent factor. There is significant income to made from women students.   Significant income has also been made by students, many of whom are women, traveling to Africa to participate in drumming intensives. Many benefit from these intensives including those who provide housing, cook meals, escort and teach.

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Obini Bata: Women Orisha Bata Ensemble

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Women playing bata have been prohibited from playing these sacred drums.  It is said that this was not always the case. With the introduction of Los Reglas de Ocha, or The rules of priesthood, came the introduction of the Ceremony of Ana, or introducing the drums and drummers to the spirit of the the Dead or the spirit of Music, depending upon who you talk to .  the purpose was to make the act of playing to Orisha a sacred act.  Several Prohibitions were also introduced at this time; the prohibition of using non-consecrated drums in ceremony, the prohibition of non-priests playing in ceremony and most notably, the prohibition of women playing the Bata drums.

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Obini Bata: Una Sonrisa Para el Tambor

Obinin Bata

Obini Bata

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Bata Drumming in Orisha Music

The Structure of Orisha Music

As defined earlier, Orisha Music is that music sang to the deities of the Yoruba based religions of Ifa.  There are hundreds of Orisha; however, in the Western Hemisphere we work with primarily fifteen Orisha.  The seven primary Orisha also known as the Seven African Powers are Eshu, Ogun, Oshun, Yemoya, Obatala, Shango and Oya.  Orisha Music is specific to an Orisha and there is a litany of songs for each Orisha.  

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