“La Clave” — Rumba Documentary + Notes
One of my favourite documentaries ever. Watched it in 2016 during its Toronto premiere and now it’s all up on Youtube!
Episode 1 of 6 — Rumba, the Heart of Cuba
Rumba as the Heart/Base of Cuban music
- Matanzas, Cuba (Very important to the history of Rumba).
- Rumba rises from the docks. Humble origins.
- Musical language, like spoken language… Rumba changes and evolves over time.
- Relationship with the Cuban Son (another form of Music).
Episode 2 of 6 — The Drum
- Clave is KEY
- The drum as a literal and symbolic/metaphoric combination of Tree, Animal, People… It is a representation of LIFE
- Drums as a way of moving ENERGY
- Clave (Similar to “Inner Pulse” as a Drummer)
- Kata (Similar to Hi Hat function on Set Drums — Cascara)
- Three Drums…
- History: Slavemasters feared drumming, due to the possibility of slave mutinies. Testament to the power of rhythm and movement.
Joke about Rumberos: “You can’t have wooden furniture!”
- Olofin… Ana (Over 200 years old. Oldest drums in Cuba)
“With very little you can do great things”
Episode 3 of 6 — The Sacred and the Profane
The Sacred and the Profane
- Drums are considered to be living beings.
- Treat drums with love
- An Orisha is in the drum! (literally + metaphorically!)
- Different pitches are absolutely critical. (Bata Drumming)
- They play melodies for different Orishas.
- Yoruba is a TONAL LANGUAGE. The tones of the drums are important because the drums literally SING!
- Ana and the Prayer of the Drum
- All male sect… Similar to Secret Societies like Freemasons etc
- Test to see who’s the most knowledgeable… Not about arguing… Just to see how people are, where they’re going… playful banter and storytelling through music, song and dance.
- The clave originates from Abakua
“The more you know, the better your dancing will be.”
Episode 4 of 6 — The Voice
- Percussion as a telegraph… Message is in the text you sing…
- Oldest form of “Rap”
- The intro (Diana) of any Rumba identifies the type of Rumba song, be it Guaguanco…Yambu… etc.
- Singing as Talking
- You can fuse Rumba with EVERYTHING! > Flow
“Everything is Connected.”
Episode 5 of 6 — The Dance
The Dance (Three main Types)
- Partner dance
- Man closes woman’s movements.
- “Vaccination”. His aim is to “vaccinate her” ;)
- She blocks!
- Competition! Can he? Can she? Who’s got the CHOPS?
- Romantic partner dance
- Most genuine place where women can express her sensuality
- Make-believe that the dancers are “old”
- Time to FLEX
- Toe + Heel movements!
- Quinto (drum/drummer) has to match the dancer
- It has to Call to you.
- Both Women and Men do it. Traditionally it’s men showing off. Peacocking. Strutting. Flexing.
“[Dance is] The fountain where I quench my body’s thirst for movement.”
Episode 6 of 6 — The Future
The Future of Rumba
- Fundamentals… (Old vs. New)
- Rumba evolves with the times…
- Find a way to make people DANCE!
Bands/Artists Mentioned In the Documentary
- Osain del Monte
- Dayme Arocena
- Rumberos de Cuba