Afrocuba de Matanzas is a folkloric group, whose members are directly descended from West Africans brought to Cuba as slaves. The group formed in 1957 with a mission to preserve their African cultural heritage through performances (including world tours and recording), as well as lectures and workshops. The city of Matanzas, about 2 hours from Havana, is Cuba’s main center of Afro-Cuban traditional culture and Afrocuba is widely acknowledged as among the most authentic traditional Afro-Cuban music groups.
Slaves in Cuba were allowed to gather in tribal and ethnic groups to practice their traditional religions, which involved dancing, drumming, chanting and call and response. Afrocuba performs these rituals in their pure forms as well as music and dance genres which descended from them, in combination with Spanish and Caribbean traditions. Instruments, all percussion, are handmade in the traditional ways using traditional materials.
Meet Afrocuba de Matanzas and watch them perform on a Ya’lla tour to Cuba.