Batá Drumming Essay

1554 Words 6 Pages
The Controversy of Women Percussionists and their Exclusion from Batá Drumming

Batá drumming is a religious ceremony over five centuries old of Yoruba origin. The purpose of the ceremony is to call upon Orishas, or deities using the drums. There are three drums that participate in the communication with the orishas during the ceremony. These three drums are Iya (mother), dedicated to the Orisha Yemaya, Itotele (father) dedicated to Oshun, and Okonkolo (baby) dedicated to the orisha Chango. Iya is the largest drum, followed by Itotele and finally Okonkolo is the smallest. Each of these drums are made sacred by going through a specific consecration ceremony which may only be attended by males who have had their hands wash to play the drums
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These religious explanations include reasons regarding the menstrual cycle as well as the types of energies associated with men and woman and the effects these aspects are believed to have on calling upon the heavens. Women cleanse themselves through menstruation and therefore they do not need to play Batá, because playing batá is a cleansing activity. Añá, who is the orisha of the drums is a female and therefore a woman playing the drums creates an imbalance in the gender …show more content…
Despite these thoughts there have been various groups of women have gathered to form batá groups. Four active groups in Cuba are Obini Batá and Ibbu Okun in Havana as well as Obini Aberíkula in Matanzas, and Obini Irawo in Santiago. In addition to these groups there are also women who play in Europe, Japan and Canada and even the United States. In these places a few women 's batá groups are actively playing in the traditional yoruba

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