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Rumba is one of the most authentic manifestations in Cuban culture. Widely popular and 100% Cuban, it was born as a process of hybridization of elements of different origins, in which the legacy of African cultures played a predominant role while it exhibited significant Spanish components. It emerged in Cuba in the late 19th century, and developed after the abolition of slavery.
More than a music and dance representation, rumba is a way of life, a philosophy that contains a mystique connected to religions and affiliations. It does not need specific instruments—the clapping of hands is enough to get a rumba going. For the people in the neighborhoods and in the streets, rumba is suited to their lives, to their emotions.
And this is what Timbalaye, a yoruba word that refers to feasible dreams and projects, is all about. Timbalaye 2013 included seminars on salsa, rumba and Afro-Cuban dances; courses on singing and percussion; lectures on music and anthropology; Cuban popular dance competitions; theatre and dance performances; and the presentation of the Fernando Ortiz-Timbalaye Prizes to the best rumba group, singer, dancer and conga player of the event as well as the best essay on Cuban rumba. Sponsored by the AHS, the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba and the Fernando Ortiz Foundation, Timbalaye also honored one of the great exponents of rumba: Gonzalo Ascencio, known as Uncle Tom.
The International Cuban Rumba Festival, created to delve into the heritage of rumba, includes seminars on salsa, rumba and Afro-Cuban dances; courses on singing and percussion; lectures on music and anthropology; Cuban popular dance competitions; theatre and dance performances; and the presentation of the Fernando Ortiz-Timbalaye Prizes to the best rumba group, singer, dancer and conga player of the event, as well as the best essay on Cuban rumba.
The 6th International Rumba Festival will be held in the cities of Pinar del Río, Havana, Matanzas and Cienfuegos, from August 17-24. The extensive program of activities includes lectures, meetings and workshops, as well as performances by groups that cultivate syncretized African tradition, such as Muñequitos de Matanzas, Afrocuba, Los Reyes del Tambor, Ojundegara, Ganga Longobá and many others who keep the rumba legacy alive as an inseparable part of the Cuban character.
Selected activities: Aug 17, 4:30pm Pabellón Cuba, Havana Rumba concert Aug 18, 2:00pm Pinar del Río Timbalaye 2014 gala Aug 19, 4:00pm Havana The Longest Ruma Aug 20, 9:00pm America Theater, Havana; Timbalaye 2014 gala Aug 21, 8:30pm Matanzas Opening gala of the Timbalaye Rumba International Festival Aug 22, 9:00pm Matanzas Workshop, lectures, talks on Rumba Aug 23, 4:00pm Matanzas Closing gala Aug 24, 1:00pm Cienfuegos Performances & meetings with rumba artists For more information:
August 2014 This article formed part of the August 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.
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