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Beyond Salsa Piano is a history and anthology of the role of the piano in the Cuban rhythm section – from its first appearance to the present. In a broader sense, it’s a study of the tumbao – the art of creating music from layers of repeating rhythmic and melodic phrases. Whether these syncopated figures are called tumbaos, guajeos, montunos, riffs or vamps, this Afro-Cuban concept lies at the heart of nearly every popular music genre from salsa to rock , funk, R&B, hiphop and jazz.

While presented as a set of method books, the series doubles as a history course and record collecting guide for listeners, dancers, and players of instruments other than the piano.

Perhaps the most important goal of the series is to provide a comprehensive understanding of how tumbaos are constructed, their central role in the texture of Latin music of all eras, and the endless possibilities they provide for creative composing and arranging.
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Bata Ketu

Artist:   Michael Spiro

Style Released Album Tracks Charts
Afro-Cuban 1996 7 0


© 1996 Bembe Records. All rights reserved.
Audio album download includes album tracks, liner notes and cover art.
All audio tracks in MP3-VBR format. About LPM album downloads.
# Name Play Time Info
01  Prelude
Alternative text
1:05 Sambata
02  Act 1-Elegua-Exu
Alternative text
7:40 5 scenes:
 1.Guiro  2.Ketu  3.Chon Chon Abe-Abukenke
 4.Samba de Roda  5.Makuta
03  Act 2-Osain-Osanyin
Alternative text
10:35 6 scenes:
 1.Nigbe (Forest) 2.Kuru Kuru Reggae
 3.Apanije-Kota 4.RumbOlodum 
 5.Kuru Kuru Reggae 6.Nigbe (Reprise)
04  Act 3-Chango-Xango
Alternative text
8:26 5 scenes:
 1.Biti Laye 2.Emi Alado 3.Oba Ere
 4.Sato-Afrekete 5.Bata-Ketu
05  Act 4-Iroko
Alternative text
8:46 3 scenes:
 1.Jicongo 2.Samba Kuru Ru
 3.Cha Cha Reggae Fun
06  Act 5-Ochosi-Oxossi
Alternative text
5:20 5 scenes:
 1.Zabumbata 2.Ketulode 3.Zabumbata
 4.Aquere-The Hunt 5.Chon Chon Roda
07  Act 6-Ochun-Oxun
Alternative text
16:44 4 scenes:
 1.Iyesa 2.Water vs. Metal 3.Sambao
 4.Aña Ilu
A critically acclaimed album that showcases Brazilian and Cuban interplay of Yoruba music -a real gem!

Album download includes very extensive and informative liner notes about the nature of the recordings and Yoruba music in general.

This critically acclaimed album is the result of the work of two visionary percussionists: Michael Spiro and Mark Lawson. With a few exceptions the multitude of instruments heard are all played by them. Together with the Brazilian folkloric singer Jorge Alabe and legendary Cuban vocalist Bobi Céspedes, a timeless tradition cones full circle from its journey through the ages.

In the ebb and flow of life, things come together and things fall apart. This constant rhythm is observable in day to day life as well as in historic overviews of centuries past. Bata Ketu is a musical Inter-Play consisting of six acts. It tells the story of Yoruba music uprooted from Mother Africa, transplanted in Cuba and Brazil, evolving separately over time, and then reuniting today. In this reunion of two long-separated "siblings", the differences and similarities create a new, dynamic art form through celebratory performance.

During the long years of slavery in which the Yoruba and their descendants suffered in Cuba and Brazil, their ancestral deities, the Orisha, would appear in the physical world by way of possessing initiates. Through a living art form of song, drums and dance, the orisha have lived on far from the shores of Africa. One could say that every time the orisha's rhythms are played or their songs sung, they exist in our physical world.

The following chart is the structure of the Bata Ketu InterPlay. Each track is dedicated to a particular orisha, where the Cuban name of the deity is followed by its Brazilian name.

Bata Ketu is the culmination of years of experimentation with this fascination and is as much a statement about the music of Cuba and Brazil as it is about the composers/performers themselves. When you listen to this recording, you will hear Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments accompanying the call and response songs dedicated to the orisha. These spiritual songs invoke a beauty and power which communicate directly to a person's inner being. The songs come from both the Cuban (Lucumi) and Brazilian (Candomble) branches. In some cases, Cuban drums accompany Brazilian songs, while Brazilian drums and rhythms accompany Cuban songs. In other instances two versions of the same song, one from each country, are sung back to back. Although both versions are clearly the same song, the difference between the Brazilian and Cuban flavors delights the senses. Moreover, there is a wonderful sense of balance in Bata Ketu, as the Cuban songs are called by a woman, and the Brazilian songs are called by a man.

Over a third of Bata Ketu was recorded in Brazil. The Brazilian singers had only sung these songs in a ceremonial context and had never been in a recording studio before. Fortunately, the only problem that arose from this was their tendency to dance while they sang. It was a joy for Michael and Mark to see how much the Brazilians enjoyed hearing the Cuban orisha songs and rhythms on the tape. Later, when they took a copy of this work to Cuba and played it for Matanzas’ Grupo AfroCuba, they witnessed a similar response. When the Cubans started dancing around the room (even attempting to dance Brazilian samba) they knew they had created something unique that transcends cultural boundaries.