The first Tuesday of every month is firmly placed in my diary. This is because it means it’s time for London’s Afro Cuban Music Night. The organisers describe the event as a night of drum, song and dance from bata and Orisha music to rumba and as an informal gathering where musicians who know the traditions can come and play and music lovers can sing, dance or just listen.
I’ve blogged about this night on several occasions, most recently in April of this year.
Here are a few more images I’ve taken over the last few months at The Afro Cuban Music Night:
The venue itself is quite dark and has very low lighting except for a bit more light near the bar; I like the colours in this shot of Wilmer Sifontes playing the shekere:
Here’s a picture of the stunning Colombian singer Carolina caught by the same lighting:
In this picture, Cuban dances Damarys Farres dances to the Afro Cuban rhythms. I wanted to try and convey some of the energy and movement, so I like the squiggly green lights which to me give a synaesthetic effect.
The music can be very spiritual and soulful. Here are a couple of portraits conveying some of the emotion and intensity:
Adé Egun Crispin Robinson on vocals:
And Marie, a rapt spectator:
The night is divided into two sections, in the first the songs are from the Orisha tradition and played on batá drums. After the break the final hour is devoted to rumba, played on congas and cajon as seen on the picture below, Gerardo de Armas Sarria is on cajon and Barak Schmool on conga. They are flanked by the organisers, musicians David Pattman and Vicky Jassey.
Here is a photo of Vicky playing catá – a bamboo percussion instrument played with sticks – during the rumba session:
I’ve mentioned previously that one of the great things about the Afro Cuban Music Night is that it is encouraging and supportive of women drummers and percussionists in what is traditionally a very macho arena.
In this picture Sandra Morales (who incidentally also sings in the same low section as myself in the London Lucumi Choir) is dancing rumba at last month’s session. Behind her you can see Akiko on one of the 3 batá drums.
The next Afro Cuban Music Night is tomorrow, Tuesday August 2, 2016 and takes place at TIPSY (under Escudo De Cuba restaurant), 20 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XN