Santeria music

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by RICKJDLT, Apr 25, 2015.


    RICKJDLT Descarga

    I love Santeria music, I am not really into the practice but the music is fresh. My wife who is Afro-Colombian practices Santeria, alter and all, I don't knock it because we were both born Catholic and that doesn't do much for me either, although I have no plans of changing my religion anytime in the future. I consider myself very religious but have no place in my soul for organized religion.

    But the Santeria music does move my soul & I can feel the power in it. Besides it is a genre of music & I have favorites, in my case Munequitos de Matanzas moves my soul the most, maybe because I was blessed to have seen them perform in concert.

    What is everyone's thought about Santeria & it's music, Yemaya !!!
  2. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I can't really say that I "listen" to Santeria music much since it really is used for religious ceremonies. I have some Lazaro Ros and the Yoruba Andabo DVD/CD with the Orishas dances/music. To put on a CD and just listen to it, I prefer rumba. I have never heard Muñequitos performing Santería songs, just rumba. Do you have a Muñequitos santería CD that you can refer me to? That would be a nice addition to my small Santeria library, even if I really don't listen to the Santeria music much.

    I have taken some Afro-Cuban dance classes because I wold like to learn to do a semi decent job of dancing the Orishas dances, mainly to incorporate with dancing to timba. And of course learning the "cantos" is also helpful since they are so often quoted in Cuban music.

    My ex is a Santero so I learned a lot from him during the time we were together. I picked up some of the Afro-Cuban slang as well. e has a dictionary of Yoruba to Spanish translations, which was interesting. I should have photocopied it LOL

    In terms of contemporary songs related to Santería that I like for listening to around the house, I would say the stuff by Ibeyi is quite good.
  3. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I find this whole subject quite complex - mainly because I haven't investigated it properly. Not because I'm not interested, but because there's only so many things I can learn about at a time. So . . . time and time again in mambo and salsa songs, I hear references to Ellegua, Ochún, Obatalá, and loads of others I can't recall right now. This is all Santería references - right? In which case, I hear it within music that is not actually Santería music.

    Love this Lucumí tune:

    I've just discovered this site that I assume has accurate info:
  4. BullitproofSoul

    BullitproofSoul Shine Officer

    First I want to say that I respect the religious views and practices of others. We all have the religious freedom to pursue or not pursue life with a higher power according to conscience.

    I've made a personal decision to avoid Salsa that is overtly Santera. I don't mind the occasional mention of some deity or the religious vocabulary, and I am aware that the musical forms in their origins were religious, but I steer clear of songs that overtly render praise to some specific Santero deity. (so, for example, while I am learning to play many Salsa classics on piano, I don't plan on learning an obvious classic like "Aguanile.")

    This is, first, because I am in a relationship with a different deity. I don't claim to be a particularly good practitioner of faith, but its what I got.

    The second reason (and again this is just my opinion) is that spirits are real and that you should be careful before introducing one into your life, or even flirting with him/her/it. Not all spirits are good or helpful. Once your life, a spirit can cause blessing or destruction, so its wise to do some homework before inviting one in. And breaking a relationship is problematic, to say the least

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Bullitproofsoul you make some good points about spirits and how dangerous it can be to introduce them into your life especially if you ever want to break that relationship. My wife is not very deep into it and is more of a Catholic, but I have no intention of going down that path.
  6. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    There are a lot of Santería references in Cuban son/salsa/timba whatever name we are using today. Off the top of my head
    Papá Changó - NG la Banda
    Que viva Changó - NG La Banda
    Viejo Lázaro - Dan Den
    Agua pa' Yemayá - Orquesta Revé
    Y qué tú quieres que te den - Adalberto Álvarez

    There are many more but that's just what pops into my head. I don't know how much of it has slipped into NY salsa.

    Then there are the actual religious songs used in the religious ceremonies. Cuban bands also sometime use batá drums, which originally were always sacred drums. PMG does that a lot. I'm sure there were older Cubans who thought it was horrible to use batá in popular music, but the musicians don't use consecrated batá drums in the secular music. They use the rhythms and one of the things with timba is that some of the concepts of batá were adopted in timba but not using the drums.

    Santaria is a lucumí religion but Cuba also has Palo Mayombe from the Congo and then there is the men's secret association Abakuá, so there are a variety of different types of Afro-Cuban religious music all with their own songs and dances.

    The first time I went to Cuba I was invited on my 4th day there to a toque de santo where the hostess was montado by a santo and another person was montado by the spirit of a slave from Congo. I've also seen ngangas (from palo) with human skulls in them. Of course I respect the religious ceremonies and didn't try to film anything, although I know a lot of tourists do and a lot of the religious people take money from tourists to let them film. But my ex (wasn't my ex at the time LOL) set up a private rumba at a friend's house with a local band out in Artemisa so that I could film. They didn't have batá so everything was played on congas and they were missing one conguero. They did rumba, palo and some of the cantos of the Orishas. Then they had an open rumba where people took turns playing and singing.

    The cool thing about Cuba is how people just come by and get involved. the noise of the little rumba caught people's attention so a crowd formed by the door and windows. A local dancer did some of the Orisha dances and when they started doing rumba people came in and took turns dancing. One little boy with down's syndrome also came in and danced.
    Here is the playlist for anyone who is interested. I would recommend the Rumba with dancing clip (the little boy dances in this one) and Rumba abierta which also has dancing, Elegua, Babalú Ayé and the Cantos de Palo clip. During the open rumba there was an apagón (power outage) and they kept on playing in the dark. This was really a total Cuba experience - the real Cuba.
    DJ Yuca likes this.
  7. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    A hell of a lot, although not so much in romántica (obviously!). Perhaps more so in the mambo era - babalú aché was a massive hit in the US, and not just with latins, and afaik the lyrics are overtly about this topic. There are many more examples - Chano Pozo was from the Abakuá sect, so from ground zero of Cuban music being mixed with jazz the Santería aspect was present. Likewise TP was initiated into Santería, and he used batá drums on at least one of his recordings. And the Machito tune I posted earlier seems to be solely about this topic.
    timberamayor likes this.
  8. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Although how a song without lyrics can be about any topic is beyond me. :) Maybe I'm missing some sort of interwoven lucumí rhythms and melodies that have been jazzified. Other than the beginning nothing seems overtly lucumí. But again I must admit to my ignorance.
    DJ Yuca likes this.
  9. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Ha ha ha - I've just realised that version is missing the 1st 3 minutes, in which Machito talks about Lucumí. Here we are:

    timberamayor likes this.
  10. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Thank you!

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Timberamayor you are very fortunate to have witnesses the music and dances of Santeria. Many people fear the power of an African religion because they have been taught it is similar to witchcraft. The Vudu religion of Haiti is so much alike the Santeria religion. The funny thing even though my wife practices Santeria she still believed Vudu was about shrunken heads. I had to show her information about the 2 practices to prove to her how small the differences are. I think being involved with a Haitian woman before I met her may have something to do with it. In fact the sacrifices of the Catholic religion were not much different from what happens in Santeria today.

    I definitely love the music & don't fear the power behind it, I have always felt that if you feel right with God you need not fear anything.

    Some salsa songs that make references to Santeria religion are

    The most moving feels like the spirit of Santeria is in the song is

    Tambo Congo - Don Gonzalo Fernandez sung by Miguel Quintana

    Aguanille - Hector Lavoe/Willie Colon

    Para Ochun - Hector Lavoe

    San Lazaro - Roberto y su Nuevo montuno

    A los Santos - Conjunto Candela

    Rompe Saraguey - Conjunto Crema/ Hector Lavoe

    Cuidate Bien - Ismael Miranda

    Babalao - Jimmy Sabater

    Lucumi - Joe Cuba

    Johnny Pacheco - Siete Potencias canta Celia Cruz

    Jose Mangual Jr. - Canto a Caridad

    Justo Betancourt - Ubane

    La Conspiracion - Tengo Poder

    Here is Tambo Congo


    RICKJDLT Descarga

    In the late 60's early 70's I once heard that the authenticity of Salsa was measured by your ability to make a composition to the saints of Santeria. In fact there was a period when Hector Lavoe & Willie Colon were involved with the Santeria religion so the story goes. It had to be Cubano to be authentic, you will here references to Cuban music in Rican songs of this period.
  13. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Well I think there were a few artists who refused to have anything to do with it - but they were probably the exception. I think I read somewhere that Lebrón Brothers were Christians and refused to have any Santería involvement - or maybe I imagined it. If true, it certainly didn't impede their music.
  14. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I know I have mentioned elsewhere about Rosendo Diaz "El Gallo" who used to sing with Manolito and then with Revé. He is a fantastic singer and sonero but he quit singing with secular bands (for the most part) after he had a conversion experience. He was a santero and palero. During his time with Manolito he lost his voice. The doctors said he would have to have an operation and would probably never sing again. A babalao told him it was his enemies that had cursed him.

    El Gallo with Manolito
    Ya para que
    Some adolescent group did a cover of this Victor Manuelle did a cover of El Aguila that was also sung by El Gallo.
    Has one of those great Manolito piano intros that hooks you immediately. Manolito's piano tumbaos are what converted me to timba. (but I digress)

    The original version by Orquesta Maravilla de Florida when Manolito was the musical director. I prefer El Gallo's singing. Maravilla's version is more charanga of course.

    Back to El Gallo's story. Then he talked to some evangelical christians who told him this problem was easy for God to fix. They had him clear out all the santaria stuff. That night he dreamed that he should breathe steam as if he had a cold. He did and his voice was cured.

    He joined Revé for 8 months. Elito told me that he quit the band because he didn't want to sing the songs with references to the santos. Side note: Elito said that when they recorded El Gallo would take the lyrics and look them over for a half an hour and then come back and record 3 takes, each with different guías and then they would choose the best ones.

    El Gallo with Revé - Lo que tú esperabas (love this song)
    "Traigo lo que tú esperabas y viene como e'
    changüí del monte para que lo baila usted"

    Then he went to Lima and his wife was 8 months pregnant. The baby had a serious problem with his intestines and the doctors said he had to be operated on. Rosendo had another spiritual experience where God told him not to do the operation, that God would fix it. And indeed his son miraculously recovered. Now he mostly sings religious songs although he may occasionally do a guest spot in a song.

    Here is the story in his own words (for Spanish speakers)

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    That is true too, DJ Yuca, some artists never made any references to Santeria, probably about half. And it was more prevalent among Afro-Carribeans. Some actually practiced it, but most just had respect for it.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Here is something that came out on TV some time back a short lived show called Cosmic Slop this episode was called "The first commandment". It was about a Catholic church in the Bronx where the members practiced Santeria & the museum wanted the Virgen de Cobre from the church. It starts about 3 minutes into the video and lasts about 1/2 hour, but this is about PR's in NY practicing Santeria.

  17. arsenio123

    arsenio123 Son Montuno


    This is Yoruba Andabo on Santeria and more, if you have questions I will explain this musical and danced afrocuban religion from Nigeria and Cuba to you.

    Saludos or in Yoruba Ashé,
  18. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Thank you Arsenio123. I have the Yoruba Andabo Rumba en la Habana DVD. My ex-boyfriend is a Santero so I have some understanding of it. I've been to a couple of toques de santo as well as having taking dance classes for some of the orishas. I am not good at the dances, but at least somewhat familiar with the different dances. Some day I will take private classes. I want to learn one orisha at a time so I can get good at one before moving on to another. But I think I will do rumba and son before going back to the orisha dances again.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    I filmed this ceremony back in the early 1990's, sorry about the video quality, I was not supposed to be filming and so I had to keep my camera hidden, this is a true Santeria group, Bobi Cespedes is the head of the Santeria music in the Bay Area.. Besides we didn't have HD video back then, but these are practitioning Santeros. Bobi Cespedes explain some of the dances in English. The drummer making sounds of Bata drums on the congas is Jesus Diaz of Qba, not sure if you are familiar with him but he released a record last year entitled "La Jungla" group named "Jesus Diaz Y su Qba".

  20. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    That looks more like a concert/performance than a ceremony. I didn't film at the ceremonies I was at. the first one was my 4th day in Cuba on my very first trip and I was invited to a toque de santo. the music normally at the bembés and other ceremonies is just percussion no microphones and the people aren't dressed in the costumes. The whole audience will dance a little bit. The woman holding the toque was "possesed" by ... don't remember if it was the saint that the toque was for or if it was a muerto. Later another guy was possessed by the spirit of a dead slave named Francisco. Hardcore intro for ,my first trip to Cuba LOL. Also on my first trip I was at another house where a ceremony for initiates was going on. I wasn't allowed to watch the ceremony but it was hardcore. Not sure if it was santería or palo. They had ngangas in a shed where most of the ceremony took place and they sacrificed chickens and a goat. That much I know. I think they also cut the initiates - "rayado".

    Since I couldn't film the ceremonies they got some local musicians together and did a private rumba thing for me that I could film. Just started playing some of their own songs and then did some santos. Of course the people in the neighborhood could hear and started looking through the widows and doors and eventually some of them started dancing. It was pretty cool actually. they were short one conga player and they didn't use batá for the saints stuff but still cool. This is what things were like in the actual ceremonies except there would also be an altar and the room would be filled with people singing the coros and dancing.




    Babalú Ayé
    Changó y Obatalá
    Open rumba where different people from the neighborhood join in playing, singing and dancing. this is probably the one that's most interesting to me. I always like to see the regular people from the neighborhood just doing what they do. The little boy dancing hos downs syndrome. then the electricity went out and they kept playing in the dark LOL El Apagón!

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