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8 Yoruba drums that are still preserved in Cuba. Get to know them!

Yoruba drums

The drums or batá They represent an incalculable value within our Yoruba religion, they signify the sacred union with our ancestors.

Its primary function is to communicate with our ancestors and Orishas in our Rule of Osha-Ifá. The Orisha Aña is the one that lives inside these drums and for them to sound they must first be consecrated.

  • Every drum that is made must be consecrated because they carry secrets and ceremonial rites.

The Sacred Drums in the Osha Ifá Rule

Drums are treated with great care and many religious rules must be observed when handling and beating them.

These ancestral musical and spiritual elements are adorned and dressed with great care and love, and should always be greeted by all religious because if it is not done it would be disrespectful.

Beating the drum is a complicated art, it takes years to learn.

The drummer He must have, apart from manual skills, a very good memory to invoke the orishas and deities through the sacred songs, which are poetry and beautiful legends.

In addition, drummers must consult with the Orishas Añá and Osain in the consecration process, and must comply with a series of rules of conduct out of respect.

  • E.g.Before playing the sacred instruments, they cannot have had sexual intercourse or ingested alcoholic beverages.

In Cuba the Yoruba drums that have survived time and are preserved are:

Cuban drums

1. The Batá drums:

They are used to touch all the Orishas and Egguns (spirits). They are called from highest to lowest and are enshrined in Shango, the orisha who owns the drum and music in the Yoruba religion.

Their names and meanings are as follows:

  • Iya: means mother, respect for women, and is the major drum.
  • itole: Here the prefix "i" means action, the verb "to" is to place in order and "tele" to follow.
  • Okonkolo: as it is the smallest of the drums these words mean boy or boy.

To call and innovate each drum by its name is quite similar throughout the Cuban territory.

2. The Igbín drums:

These are preserved in the province of Matanzas, they are consecrated in Babá Obbatalá, the white father of Osha.

Legend has it that Obbatalá loved to dance and when he did so all his women clapped and sang around him.

That is why he ordered these drums to be manufactured and named them after these women.

These drums are four and from highest to lowest they are called:

  • Iyá nla
  • iya nga
  • Keke
  • Affere

3. Ipose drums:

There are three drums and an Agogó (bell) and they are consecrated to Ifá.

  • These are still preserved and were owned by Tata Gaitán (Eulogio Rodríguez Gaitán, legendary Babalawo, Tata Nkisi and Abakúa).

4. The Agere drums:

There are two drums and a flute, today they are only preserved in Jovellanos city of Matanzas and in Palmira, Cienfuegos, municipalities of Cuba.

They are consecrated to Oggún the owner of the iron and the hunters use them for their dances.

These drums are called from highest to lowest of:

  • Agere
  • Affere 

5. The Apinti drums:

They are two drums and a bell, they are consecrated to the Orisha Yewá. They are kept in Jovellanos, Matanzas and are called:

  • Iyá Ilú 
  • Emmel
  • agogo

6. The Dundún drums:

There are six drums dedicated to Shango the King of Fire and only one set of drums is preserved in Matanzas, a Cuban province.

They are called from highest to lowest:

  • Iyá Ilú
  • Gudugu
  • Gravel
  • isayu
  • kanango
  • Gangan 

According to legend, the first to use the Dundún drum was Ayán, a native who taught Yoruba families the art of beating the drum.

7. The Agaba drum:

It is a single drum, a jar with a secret inside that is covered with deerskin. This drum is consecrated to Oduduwá and only this one is preserved in Matanzas.

8. Egbadó drums:

These drums are consecrated to Olokún, the orisha who knows the secrets of the ocean.

They are still kept at the home of Fermina Gómez Pastrana, Osha Bi (the first Iyalosha who gave Olokún's secret).

These drums are named after:

  • oyinaba
  • ademaluko
  • irgada
  • igbagbara

If you want to continue knowing more about Fermina Gomez Pastrana, I recommend you read the following article:

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