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Keepers Of The Flame

Drummer and educator, Chuck Silverman is creating a new documentary project about the elder statesmen of the Cuban musical genre called Rumba. The history and culture of these men and women, many in their 60s, 70s and 80s, needs to be documented now before it is too late. Chuck is seeking to raise funds for the project and needs your help ... DONATE TODAY!

Matanzas and Havana, Cuba are the birthplaces of the Cuban musical genre known as Rumba which was born out of the necessity of the freed slaves in Cuba to continue their rich tradition of drumming, dance and the celebration of life.  Rumba continues to be a celebration of culture in Cuba and throughout the world.

Keepers of the Flame — Cuban Folkoric Drumming Traditions is a documentary about the elder statesmen of Rumba who live in Matanzas and Havana, Cuba. Francisco Zamora Chirino, ("Minini") and Pedro Aballi Torriente ("Regalado") are two of these elder statesmen and co-founders of AfroCuba de Matanzas, one of Cuba's preeminent folkloric groups. Both Menini and Regalado are the keepers of the undying and fervent flame of Rumba and the deep and profound folkloric rhythms which were brought to Cuba from Africa.

"A recent conversation I had with Minini brought the important point home to me that many of the elder statesmen of rumba in Cuba are worried that their heritage, their history, will be forgotten when they inevitably pass on," says Chuck Silverman. "This is why this documentary is so important to produce now, before it is too late."

Silverman goes on to say, "Raúl Gonzalez Brito, 'Lali,' is an important member of the cultural community in Havana, Cuba. His influence on the music and drumming of not only his community, but on World Music, is undeniable. Lali is a great songwriter with many of his songs being performed by groups in Cuba and other countries. Lali is a lynchpin in the culture of el Cerro, a very important neighborhood in Havana. The saying goes, 'el Cerro tiene la llave,' meaning Cerro has the key, the key to the culture. Lali is certainly one of the Keepers of the Flame. His friends, neighbors and fellow rumberos all over Havana are mightily concerned about the longevity of their culture. As more and more influence come to Cuba's major city, the essence of rumba is changing. Keepers of the Flame will serve to document the energy charged history of rumba as brought forth by drummers such as Lali and his fellow rumberos."

Keepers of the Flame — Cuban Folkoric Drumming Traditions will focus on the culture of rumba in both Havana and Matanzas, Cuba. There will be extensive interviews with many important musicians from both cities. The specific focus will be on the elder statesmen of rumba. There will be never to be forgotten performances from both cities as well. A roundtable discussion with performers from both cities will be followed by a tremendous performance featuring drummers from Havana and Matanzas.

Keepers of the Flame — Cuban Folkoric Drumming Traditions is an important work which needs to be done now! There really is no time to lose.

Keepers of the Flame — Cuban Folkloric Drumming Traditions is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Keepers of the Flame — Cuban Folkloric Drumming Tradition must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


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