Monday, December 04, 2006

Dec 4: Güiro for Changó


¡Kabiyosile Changó! ¡Ka wó!

Dec 4th is the day of Changó. To celebrate, we present a video of a performance by Agrupación de Güiros El Niño de Atocha, from the Cuban TV Special "La Rumba y el Tambor," directed by Angel Hernández Calderín.




Patricio writes:

Changó is a very important Orisha in Cuba, because Yoruba slaves in
Cuba mainly came from Oyo, for many years the dominant Yoruba kingdom. (Before becoming an Orisha, Shangó had been an early king of Oyo, in the 17th century.) Brazilian Yoruba slaves mainly came from Ketu, which was a Nago nation, south-west of Oyo.



This is why Changó's drums, the batá, came to dominate Orisha ceremonies in Cuba (in Yorubaland each Orisha has its own particular drum), and also why the batá are not found in Brazil.

Changó is fire (“ina”), he eats fire and throws fire. Storms and
lightning are owned by him. His colours are red (fire or blood, or
life) and white. He wears a crown, for he was king of Oyo. He holds an
“oché” (double axe) as his "attribute."

Changó is the Orisha of music and drums. He is a womanizer and takes
great care of how he looks and how he is dressed. He sometimes acts in
a stupid way (Orishas have the same qualities and defects than humans).

His movements when dancing often symbolize lighting (as the women
seated around him in the video do): he raises his arm upward towards the sky, where he “catches” lighting and brings it down to earth, towards his penis.
He is a warrior, too, and fights with enemies while dancing.

(Click below for more about Agrupación de Güiros El Niño de Atocha, lyrics and translations, and to download a clip of this video.)



About Agrupación de Güiros El Niño de Atocha

This group is fairly (and deservedly) well-recorded. Their discography includes segments on such discs as

Cantos de Santería (Artex 090)
"Sacred Rhythms of Cuban Santeria" (Smithsonian Folkways
40419)


and also on "Toque de Güiro" vol. VIII of the Antología De La Música Afrocubana. The following is our translation of the notes from that disc, by María Teresa Linares:

The group "El Niño de Atocha", from Limonar, Matanzas, was founded by Benito Aldama (pictured below).


(Photo credit: Benito Aldama Herrera "Elélegba" from Orin Orisa: Songs for Selected Heads, by John Mason. Mason tell us: "He was born in August 1906. His mother, Marcelina Aldama "Changó Larí" was an Egbado slave direct from Nigeria. Photo taken in Limonar, Cuba 1988.")


The instruments used differ from those of the other groups on this record and inlude a tumbadora and two guatacas (hoe blades), besides three güiros or abwes (shekeres).

The members of the group are:

Benito Aldama, vocal soloist and director
Marta Vayún, chorus
Rafael García García, percussionist
Juan Baró Baró, percussionist
Felix Aballí Domínguez, percussionist
Raúl Ventosa, percussionist
Claudia Rendón, percussionist
Pedro Gamure, percussionist
Dagoberto Neninger Díaz, percussionist


Song Lyrics

(Note: Here El Niño de Atocha are performing in a “false” stage context, so they
repeat every song twice or three times, when in a religious context
they would be repeated be ten or twenty times. They also have a “strange,” unique way of pronouncing yoruba words, or even sing “other” words than what we might be used to, because they sing in the “campo” style, different from the urban context. For example, in Havana they would say:
“Wo le nche, wo le nche, wo le nche Obá ido la”
instead of
“Mo le nse a, mo le nse a, mo le nse a gba itó la”
but of course the song remains the same.)


(Rezo hablado. Akpwón: Benito Aldama.)
(…)
A ka ma se Olufina O ke ¡ka wó, kabiyosile Changó!
A yeún erán, a erán agutan, eran alú, eran akukó, a yeún orí, a yeún oguedde
¡Agbe-e…!

Akpwón: Mo le nse, mo le nse, mo le nse gba itó...
Coro: Mo le nse a, mo le nse a, mo le nse a gba itó la
Akpwón: Mo le nse, mo le nse, mo le nse, ¡habla vasallo!
(there, he is calling vasallo to sing = el coro)
Coro: Mo le nse a, mo le nse a, mo le nse a gba itó la
Akpwón: Mo le, a mo le nse, mo le nse gba itó la
Coro: Mo le nse a, mo le nse a, mo le nse a gba itó la
Akpwón: O, a mo le, a mo le o, mo le nse gba itó la
Coro: Mo le nse a, mo le nse a, mo le nse a gba itó la
Akpwón: E, Aladó oyina, Baba o Coro: Aladó oyina

Akpwón: Baba o
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: Baba o
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: Changó Changó
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: Oguede o ma se
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: O-o Takuá
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: A yeún Changó
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: A yeún erán
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: A yeún a malú
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: Gba ku tan
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: A yeún akukó
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: A yeún amalá
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: A yeún orí
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: Changó Changó
Coro: Aladó oyina
Akpwón: Changó Lerí
Coro: Aladó oyina

Akpwón: ¡Agwe-e!, wara-wara omo Oni Changó yo ma de e le yo era
Coro: Wara-wara omo Oni Changó ma de e le yo era
Akpwón: O-wo, wara-wara omo Oni Changó, ¡kabiyosile omo Changó!
Coro: Wara-wara omo Oni Changó ma de e le yo era
Akpwón: Wara-wara omo Oni Changó ma de e le yo era
Coro: Wara-wara omo Oni Changó ma de e le yo era
Akpwón: Omo Oyó
Coro: E le yo era
Akpwón: Omo Oyó
Coro: E le yo era

(the first coro is a mistake: “Omolo Iyansá” is for Oricha Oyá)

(Possible) Translations:

A ka ma se = We/(will)/harvest/always/do, so: = we always will do the
harvest
O ke = You that are above, up there
Olufina = owner of fire
Olufina oke ka wó kabiyosile Changó = Changó’s salutes and Changó’s
titles
A yeún erán = we (sons of Changó, like you do) eat meat
(A) yeún agutan = we eat calf
Erán alú = tongues meat
Erán akukó = rooster meat (one of Changó’s favourite meal)
A yeún orí = we eat heads
A yeún oguedde = we eat plantain bananas (one of Changó’s favourite meal)
¡Agwe! = god that lives inside güiro, just like Aña lives in batá
Mo le nse = I can do
Oba itó la = King with breeding, save me (John Mason), (could be:) King
of saliva who licks up
Aladó = owner of adó (gourd containing magic power)
Oyina (o yí ina) = you roll fire (you spit fireballs)
Baba o = O Father
Oguedde o ma se = You will always provide bananas
Takuá = Tapa or Nupe, African people from central Nigeria, northern
from yorubaland
A yeún amalá = we eat yam porridge (other Changó's favourite meal)
Changó Lerí = Changó Owner of heads (that comes into his sons’ heads)
Wara-wara = downpour (John Mason)
Omo Oni Changó = Children (ahijados) who own Changó
Ma dé = always come
E le yo era(n) = You know how to get (them) satisfied with meat
Omo Oyó = child of Oyó

Many thanks to Patricio for this great effort! Click here to download this clip in mp4 format.

4 comments:

ralphlo said...

As always informative, and important Guiro El Niño De Atoche...i think its necessary to learn and know all afrocuban folkloric music in order to get a grasp and understanding of rumba today...very nice map and info concerning this most important group..

Barry said...

All the props for go to our new contributor, Patricio!

A deJesus said...

Thank you for this wonderful blog on Chango. I am a doctoral student at Stanford and I am interested in using the image of the male dancer of Chango in my dissertation. Can someone please let me know how I can go about permissions for this?

Gracias,

Aisha

Barry said...

Hi Aisha, sorry but we don't remember where that photo came from, good luck with your dissertation, let us know when it is finished.

saludos