Milton Cardona | Bembé | American Clavé

Lucumi and Santeria A form of musico-religious expression of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks in New York, derived from beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Dahomey in West Africa. These beliefs were brought to the New World as a result of the Slave Trade. From voluntary organizations, known in Cuba as “Cabildos,”the Yoruba derived Lucumi, and other religious and secret societies of African origins emerged. Lucumi beliefs are characterized by complex relationships among the forces of nature, the pantheon of “Orishas,” concepts about the creation of the world and humanity. The framework for these beliefs is centered in a system of divination known as Ifa. Syncretism between Catholicism and African beliefs resulted in certain superficial changes in Lucumi, but despite such changes, adherents made attempts to maintain close identification with Yoruba practices by using the Yoruba tongue in religious contexts and by observing the function of the “Orishas,” as well as musical practices, and other aspects of their world views. The migration of Cubans to New York City led to establishing religious centers in New York and membership now includes Black and White North Americans, as well as Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latino groups. Yoruba is a tone language and a word can have several meanings. Special thanks to Kip Hanrahan, Nancy Hanrahan, Andy Caploe, Jon Fausty, group members, and most of all, my wife, Bruni Cardona. — Milton Cardona Continue reading