Masters of Batá

A 6 track caribbean album (1h 31m 49s) — released October 9th 2015 on Sunlightsquare Records

Masters of Bata is a studio recording of 6 performances of the group Abbilona, a collective of musicians from Cuba internationally recognised as one of the leading Yoruba music ensembles today. Percussive, choral and inherently spiritual, this album is a deep dive into the sound of the secretive Santeria rituals of Havana. The session took place at ICRT studios (Havana) in November 2012 and the album is now released for the first time.

The man leading the 30 percussionists and singers of the group Abbilona is Irian Lopez, a master Bata drum player and a Babalawo (a spiritual title given to the High Priests of Ifa). He's considered by many as one of the the most influential figures in the folkloric music tradition of Havana. He and his brothers are the creators of a prominent style of Rumba called the Guarapachangueo. Over the years Abbilona's musical influence has extended to a large following of percussionists, who visit them from all corners of the world to study the drum, the complex poly-rhythms and to get closer to the mystical Santeria community.

The sacred drums, the rituals, the playing techniques, are all elements of a strong cultural heritage that's been transmitted from generation to generation within the collective, honouring the Afro-Cuban music, the Orishas and, one of the most ancient drums in the world, the Bata.

Produced by Claudio Passavanti & Giovanni Imparato.

Executive Producer: Antonio Rodríguez.

Band Leader: Irian Lopez Rodriguez

Bata drums: Yaimier "Derecho" Estevez Chirino, Yenier "El Surdo" Estevez Chirino, Jose Del Pilar Suarez Entensa, Norberto Zamora Martinez,Yoel Zulueta Lopez, Francisco Maceo Rodriguez, Javier Pina Marquez

Lead Vocals: Javier Pina Marques (El cuchillo), Michael "Lekiam" Aguilar Guerrero, Santiago Gonzalez Abreu (Angelito)

Choir: Katia "La China" Lopez Jimenez, Eloy David Mora Argudin, Santiago Gonzalez Abreu, Yaimiel Estevez Chirino, Gerardo Palumbo, Andrea Gigante, Javier, Michael "Lekiam" Aguilar Guerrero, Dionicio, Dario Zema, Daniela Isabel Quintar Perez, Giulio Perizolo, Giovanni Imparato.

Recording Sound Engineer: Manuel Ángel "Mantecon" Lopez

Assistant Sound Engineer: Gerardo Fuentes

Assistant Photographer: May Au Vera

Recorded at ICRT (Istituto Cubano de Radio y Television) - Sono Caribe (Havana)

Mixed & Mastered by Dom Sigalas, Emanuele Brignola & Claudio Passavanti at Sunlightsquare Studios (London).

'&© 2015 Sunlightsquare Records Ltd. All rights reserved.


1) Chango

2) Eleggua

3) Ochun

4) Oggun

5) Wobatala

6) Yemaya

Very nice rhythms - Carl Craig Planet E

Finally out! Full support from the first day - DJ Hallex M United Music

One word: beautiful! - Osunlade Yoruba Music

Deep, spiritual and captivating - Jose Marquez Tribe Records/Fania

Sounds great! - Jeff Young Jazz FM

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