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Brief description/definition of Orisha, or Forces of Nature from Nigeria and Cuba.

Describes the music of bomba and plena, two folkloric genres of music, song and dance from Puerto Rico associated with the vejigantes.

Describes the origins, characteristics and celebrations of the Puerto Rican folkloric tradition of "Los Vejigantes", a character associated with the music of bomba and plena.

The Plegarias, or spiritual masses, are taken from the Espiritismo liturgy as practiced on the island of Cuba and in the diaspora.

Bomba performance by the Raícitas Youth Program participants. Illustrates bomba dance, a conversation between the dancer and the drummer.

Examples of choruses sung in bomba.

The chants and the toques de batá for the dead performed by the Raíces Ensemble and guest artists in the Festival for the Dead are taken from the Lucumí/Ocha liturgy of Cuba.

The batá are the liturgical drums of Ocha. The rhythms and chants are used to praise, honor and call to the Orishas, or forces of nature.

Oyá is the orisha, or force of nature of the whirlwinds, the energy that brings chaos and destruction to make room for change and new growth. She is also the gatekeeper of the cemetary and the marketplace, deciding who may enter and who may leave.

Iansa is the Brazilian tradition equivalent to the Cuban Orisha Oyá, force of nature of the whirlwinds and keeper of the cemetary and marketplace.

Orixa Iansa, gatekeeper of the cemetary and marketplace, force of nature of the whirlwinds, causing upheavals and making way for change.

Ancestor altar, on stage for the production, containing photographs of the ancestors of the performers.

Toque and chant for the orisha Obbá, keeper of the graves in the cemetary.

Raíces Cultural Center was able to present a variety of traditions that honor the ancestors through music, song and dance thanks to a cultural collaboration with Grupo Ribeiro from New York City, who presented the Brazilian traditions of the caboclo…
Raíces Cultural Center delivered an arts and culture residency about the history, music, song and dance of the vejigantes at the Greater Brunswick Charter School in 2009. This culminating assembly performance was part of the 2009 Raíces Production…

Raícitas Youth Program student performers illustrate the Puerto Rican folkloric tradition of “Los Vejigantes”.

Elegúa is the keeper of the crossroads. He is an Orisha, or force of nature, associated with destiny. He is known as a trickster and a messenger and is often associated with children. This image depicts a dance for Eleguá performed at the Spirit of…

Performing Eleguá at the Spirit of the Drum Production. Eleguá is the Orisha, or force of nature, of the crossroads. He is considered to be a messenger and a trickster.

Rumba is a secular percussion, song and dance tradition that developed on the streets in Cuba. The dance represents the chicken and the rooster, and is a flirtatious and sensual conversation between the two dancers.

Sean Battle, a performing arts intern at Raíces in 2010 wrote original poems in honor of the Orishas for the Spirit of the Drum production, while also resarching, studying and learning the history, rhythms, songs and movements associated with the…

Newsletter excerpt about the Raíces Cultural Center 2011 production "Spirit of the Drum."

Video clip from the 2009 Raíces fact finding exchange trip to Puerto Rico

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Hip-Hop Ambassadors Cultural Exchange program stopped at Raíces Cultural Center on their tour of the Northeast.
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