This 110-page book of transcriptions is designed to accompany "El Lenguaje del Tambor: Bata Rhythms from Matanzas, Cuba," a 2-disc set of instructional DVDs that presents the Oro Seco of the traditional Afro-Cuban bata drum rhythms as they are played in Matanzas, Cuba.
These transcriptions offer the most detailed and complete documentation of the fundamentals of Matanzas-style bata drumming ever produced.
The 19 rhythms of the Oro Seco were transcribed by internationally-acclaimed percussionist Bill Summers, who has studied with both the late Esteban "Chacha" Vega Bacallao (who consecrated him to the sacred drums) and Daniel Alfonso, master drummer and the instructor on the DVDs; Kevin Repp and Vanessa Lindberg, both long-time students of Daniel's; Michael Spiro, world-renowned Afro Cuban percussionist and teacher who studied intensively over several decades with Chacha and Daniel; and classically-trained musician Neraldo Duran.
Each transcription presents, to the greatest extent possible, the rhythm as it is played by Daniel on the DVDs. Explanatory notes identifying the changes in individual rhythms match and amplify the subtitles presented on the discs.
The Second Edition has been completely revised to enhance the readability of the scores. The notation has been reduced to a two-line staff, and the notes and rests within each measure have been grouped together so that each beat is easier to read.
"The Kabiosile team of musicians and scholars have just released a second edition of their book of transcriptions. Responding to feedback from drummers and scholars about the first edition, they have overhauled the musical transcription style. Following trends of scholarly percussion notation, they have reduced the five-line staff in favor of a simplified two-line staff which represents each hand and head of the drum. This is not only easier on the eye, but it is simpler to read. The team have also reviewed their approach to rhythm notation by beaming each beat and reinforcing rests with short, headless stems. While this is not a conventional "classical" approach to rhythm notation, it makes the bata's complex rhythms far more explicit and easy to read, most particularly for musicians with only rudimentary reading skills, while still being accessible and comfortable for advanced readers.
The Lenguaje del Tambor DVD/book package is currently the richest resource available for learning the Matanzas style bata."
"No other project to date has included as much information on Afro Cuban bata drumming. Although it focuses on the style played in Matanzas, Cuba and not on the more prevalent Havana style found in the U.S., it's importance cannot be diminished."
-Bill Summers, from the Introduction
"...[The] importance of this DVD cannot be overstated in my opinion, precisely because it introduces us to the 'other' style of bata drumming, the one that is located in the folkloric cradle of the country--the province of Matanzas....I can only hope you appreciate this package as much as I do. I will be studying it daily for many years to come."
-Michael Spiro, from the Forward