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What are Batá drums in Santeria? Summoning the Orishas

Santeria drum

Since the beginning of time, music has been associated with a language through which ideas, feelings and emotions are expressed and communicated. The rhythms have evolved and reflect ways of thinking, qualities, locations and even religions.

And so it happens with that ancient rhythm from the batá drums, which are shaped like an hourglass, a family of three and their names from highest to lowest are:

  • Iyá (Talking drum),
  • Itótele (medium) and
  • Okónkolo (Small).

The batá drums they establish a language and communication system, which may reflect similarities between human words and the rhythms they produce. Each of the three drums has a special function in the "divine touch" of invoking the deities.

Batá drums, communication instrument divine

The batá drums, produce their own and different touches, taking into account the characteristics of each Orisha and the ceremonies for which they are used.

They are an expression of symbolism within the Lucumí nation in Africa, the drums are themselves mediators and interlocutors of the language between humans and deities, responding to the mysticism of the Yoruba cult.

These sacred instruments have been used for hundreds of years in Yoruba ceremonies, their rhythm and spiritual and religious meaning have endured over time to remain within the Afro-Cuban religion.

Today, their history is linked to the Rule of Osha (Santeria) and its religious rites and they imitate the language to establish communication between men on earth and the Orishas.

A direct language from earth to heaven, because as the elders say, the batá drums are not played “they speak”.

"Touches" a the Gods, a language of faith

The touches of the Batá drums they call and invoke the gods and therefore the different rhythms have a particular significance within the Santeria ritual.

Not everyone can play the drums, but those in charge of starting rhythms from them have extensive knowledge of the musical theme and of the Yoruba religion, the religiosity and spirituality that they possess. the bataleros it emerges from them to establish a unique and special connection.

And it is that, since ancient times, the Africans affirmed that the drumbeats are true conversations between the instrumentalists and the gods, a beautiful legacy that they gave to our culture.

The batá drumsIn addition, they must be built with certain materials and the patches are carefully tuned, their manufacture is special and they must be consecrated correctly.

Furthermore, the three instruments are always played together, because they are an inseparable family of drums, which together in a single rhythm invoke, thank and bring the orishas to earth.

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