Last night was the celebration of the late Olatunji’s birthday. I am not sure how old he would have been. He was a man who changed my life and helped inspire me as well as countless others in the field of percussion and beyond. I was grateful to be part of an evening of celebration in Olatunji’s honor last night at the Ashkanaz night club in Berkeley, California.
“Keepers of the Flame” is a documentary about the elder
statesmen of Rumba who live in Matanzas and Havana.
Francisco Zamorra Chirino, (“Menini”) 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.