Still running on the adrenaline from their concert at the Museo de Bellas Artes, Berklee’s Interarts Ensemble went directly to a bembé celebrating the Yoruba diety Chango at the home of the musical Arango family. The two percussionist brothers and vocalist sister perform with their band (Hermanos Arango) internationally, and Eugenio, who is known for his work with Irakere and Pablo Milanes, had just performed with the Berklee students at the museum. His brother Feliciano is a pioneer of the timba style of bass in Cuban dance music.

Bembe at the Arangos'

Hansel Santos Gómez (leftmost drummer) takes a turn on the batás.

That night, the Arangos hosted batá drummers performing traditional rhythms to welcome the gods of the Yoruba religion, along with dancers who paid tribute to the Yoruba deities Oshun and Chango. Hansel Santos Gómez, the percussionist who accompanied the Berklee students in both their concerts that week, even stepped in for a song or two. He wasn’t the only one. The evening was completely interactive, with call-and-response singing as well as dancing that filled the Arangos’ entire backyard.

Read more posts from Berklee’s inaugural trip to Cuba:

Brenda Pike
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