Bata music is complex and ideally should be learned
under the guidance and tutelage of a master drummer. The rise of
the Internet and the increased interest in Afro-Cuban and African
music have given many people much easier access to information on
these topics. Many of these sources, provide valuable study resources,
and can help you establish a good working knowledge of bata. However
bata is really still an oral tradition.
There are certain aspects of the music that can
only be taught through study with an expert. If you would like to
grasp bata music in its entirety, including all the traditional
and cultural aspects that accompany it, you are strongly urged to
seek the talents of such an expert to make the learning expérience
truly fulfilling. In the interim, we will endeavor to provide you
with at least a basic introduction to this beautiful form of musical
Traditional bata music is played in a religions
function called a bembe, in honor and in worship of Yoruba deities
called Orisha. Although there are many différent ways to
perform a bembe, the most formal always involve the use of sacred
bata drums played by drummers who have been initiated for such roles.
When played with bata drums, a bembe is usually broken down into
* Oru Seco : the first part of a bembe and
a series of bata salutes called toques played for each of the Orisha.
The term seco actually means "dry" in Spanish and, in
this case, refers to the absence of singing.
* Oru Cantando : the second part of a bembe
consisting of a series of songs sung for each of the Orisha. The
songs are accompanied by bata drums, and may employ many of the
same toques used during the Oru Seco portion. (Or entirely new toques
may be played.)
* Wemelere : the last part of a bembe, the
wemelere expands on the music played in the prior sections and includes
dancing and singing, in hopes that the Orisha will come down and
"visit" the participants.
When learning bata music, the first step is to master
the salutes played in the Oru Seco.
Guaguanco on Bata: click here!