HEAR THE CUBAN DRUMS!
Havana’s sixtieth edition of the Fiesta del Tambor Guillermo Barreto ended this past March 12th, 2017. It was held in the Salon Rosado de la Tropical Benny More, and although I have been there on hundreds of occasions, I had never seen so many people there. I was accompanied by my trusted companion Elastic Girl, and as soon as we entered the cavernous dance hall we saw everyone moving to the beat of the drums, “los batas,” the sound that constitutes the heart of Cuba’s musical history. The event took place over six days in which our Cuban drums were the protagonists, presided over by Cuban maestro Gerardo Piloto. All our Cuban musical styles are tied together by their African heritage, drums in all their manifestations, which are heard on stages all over Havana, in the Mella Theatre, El Sauza, la Casa de la Musica, la Sala Avenida, and more.
This year marked the first ever Rumba contest, and based on crowd participation I would say this event will continue as part of the Fiesta del Tambor. The other contests which make up the Fiesta del Tambor are percussion and Salsa. The event featured both local musicians, and international stars, and included participation by Cuba’s most recognized Rumba groups.
All of the presentations were excellent, however, the event was not without its fair share of mishaps! From concerts that started late, to programing errors, to last minute changes, it all worked out in the end. And aside from these, for those who appreciate the music that is created on the island, this is one of those little-known events, that is definitely worth a visit to Cuba.