Innovative release brings traditional ritualistic Cuban music into the digital age

Cuban Santeria traditions plug straight in as Abbilona's 'Masters of Batá' is released on super-cool wooden 8GB USB drive packed with extras.

Italian musician and producer Claudio Passavanti, known for his groove, boogaloo and latin jazz grooves with his band Sunlightsquare, has released a new project showcasing the spiritual and ritualistic side of Cuban music on his own Sunlightsquare Records.

‘Masters of Batá’ was recorded in ICRT studios in the Cuban capital Havana. It features six rare performances by the group Abbilona, a collective of Cuban musicians with international recognition as one of the leading Yoruba music ensembles today. The music is a journey deep into the percussive, choral and inherently spiritual sound of the secretive Santeria rituals of Havana. 

Master Batá drummer Irian Lopez leads 30 percussionists and singers. Lopez is considered by many as one of the the most influential figures in the folkloric music tradition of Havana, a Babalawo (a spiritual title given to the High Priests of Ifá.) He and his brothers are the creators of a prominent style of Rumba called the Guarapachangueo. Over the years Abbilona’s musical influence has extended to a large following of percussionists, who visit them from all corners of the world to study the drum, the complex polyrhythms and to get closer to the mystical Santeria community.

The sacred drums, the rituals, the playing techniques, are all elements of a strong cultural heritage that's been transmitted from generation to generation within the collective, honouring the Afro-Cuban music, the Orishas (a spirit that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba Religion) and, one of the most ancient drums in the world, the Batá. Passavanti has a long relationship with Cuban music. In 2009 he recorded a critically acclaimed live album in Havana released as ‘Havana Central’ under the name Sunlightsquare Latin Combo.

Masters of Batá was released on Friday Oct 9 on a very cool wooden 8GB USB pen drive including exclusive pictures, bonus remixes and full high quality audio files.

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