Bembe (14 videos)

Bembe is a critical component of Afro-Cuban folkloric culture. It is part of the Yoruba musical system, and is used to accompany the same songs as bata drums, but it has a much more common usage than bata, and is found in a wide variety of forms throughout all of Cuba.  It is more “folk” music in that sense because unlike bata drummers who need to go through a difficult initiation and training in order to play, almost anyone can learn the basic patterns to bembe, and as such it is more open to “recruits” to participate.
It is generally always played to the standard 6/8 bell pattern, but has a wide stylistic variety from around the island—in some cases  the players use sticks, some use hands, some use sticks and hands, some use two drums for the lead part, and so forth.  The common thread is that this style accompanies songs for the orishas, or the Yoruba deities in the religion known as “la regla de ocha”.
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