Home Performances Román Díaz and El Gallo Místico

Román Díaz and El Gallo Místico



AfroCuban master drummer Roman Díaz and his 12 piece percussion & vocal enemble perform the living magic of the AfroCaribbean experience

Thursday January 8th @ 9:30 pm & Midnight – at Zinc Bar

with special guests ANA PÉREZ of Los Muñequitos dé Matanzas – SANDY PÉREZ of Afro Cuba dé Matanzas and DAVID VIRELLES

“A progressive Latin jazz series presents a new collaboration between percussionist-vocalist Roman Díaz and pianist David Virelles….This pair fueled Virelles’s heady, engrossing 2012 set, ‘Contintuum’, so we expect further fascination here.” – TIME OUT NY

“Joyous, spontaneous… one of the most memorable performances of the year” – Tomás Peña, JAZZDELAPENA.COM/LATIN JAZZ NETWORK

“Powerful and generous…directly provocative as rhythm and song.” – Ben Ratliff, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Master percussionist Roman Díaz expands the territory of Latin jazz with a reprise of his critically-acclaimed work, “El Gallo Místico” (The Sacred Rooster) -a ground breaking piece featuring AfroCuban ritual drumming and chanting of the Congo, Yoruba and Carabali tribes, using the entire range of AfroCuban percussion, from congas to the kankamo drums of the Abakua – played in counterpoint to David Virelles improvising on piano.

This thrilling synergy between AfroCuban sacred ceremony and progressive art, has characterized the masterpieces of Cuban modernism in music, painting and literature since the mid 1920s. Known as AfroCubanismo, the movement became synonymous with the Cuban national identity. The Symphonic composers Amadeo Roldan and Alejandro García Caturla incorporated musical themes and rhythms iof the Abakua – an African all-male secret fraternity – into their work. Roldan’s 1925 composition, “Oberatura sobre temas cubanos” used bata drums and other AfroCuban instrumentation; his ballet score “La rebamaramba” (1928), presented Yoruba, Congo and Abakua dances; “A Chango” (1928), Rítmicos (1930), and “El diabilito baile (1932), were all explorations and celebrations of the African presence in Cuba. García Caturla’s “Rumba” (1927), “Yamba O” and “Bembe” – which premiered in París in 1928 – are also based on and inspired by AfroCuban music.

AfroCubanismo extended into literature with Nicolás Guillen’s ” Motivós de son” (1930), the first poetry to use the Black vernacular. Painting was also influenced: “El Gallo Místico” is a painting of an Abakua ceremony by Eduardo Abela; Wilfrido Lam’s “The Jungle”, Rene Portocarrero’s series, “Brujos”, Víctor Manuel’s “Carnaval” are all steeped in AfroCuban symbology.

As a leader in the Abakua culture, Roman Díaz is heir to all this, and more: he is a living repository of AfroCuban music. Born in Havana in 1964, he came to fame as a member of the world-renown rumba ensemble, Yoruba Andabo, under the direction of the legendary percussionist Pancho Quinto. Since arriving in New York in 1999, he has performed and/or recorded with notable figures in jazz and Latin music: pianist Danilo Pérez, New Orleans jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, Paquito de Rivera, Chucho Valdes, Wynton Marsalis, pianist David Virelles, the jazz group AfroHORN and guitarist-composer Juan-Carlos Formell. As a producer, he has brought together some of the doméstica interpreters of rumba – as documented in the CD Wemilere.

For the past year and a half he has been leading weekly performances of his ensemble Midnight Rumba at Zinc Bar in Greenwich Village.

“He has proven yet again that Cuba is a constellation in the modern imagination, and that as a culture Cuba is mature enough to thrive and grow outside its womb.” – Ricardo Pau-Llosa

El Gallo Místico – Thursday January 8th @9:30 & Midnight at Zinc Bar 82 W. 3rd St.

featuring Jadele, Ana Pérez, Melvis Santa, El Chino, Barry and Máximo on vocals Roman Díaz, Sandy Pérez, Mauricio Herrera, Clemente Medina, Emilio Valdes on percussion Onel Mulet on reeds, David Virelles, piano.

A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.


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