This was an opportunity for drummers, singers and dancers to focus on the African rooted musical and movemental expressions that continue to inform and inspire Brazilian and Cuban artists and performers. The sessions were structured to allow space and time to study the three disciplines separately, before fusing them for the final sessions and performance.
About the tutors
Jon is a very experienced performer and teacher of Afro-Brazilian, Afro- Cuban folkloric and popular percussion and musical styles, with some twentyfive years professional experience. The music and culture of Candomblé has been the focus of his passion for music for many years. Over a period of ten years Jon has visited and studied within several religious houses (or ‘Ilé’s) in Salvador Da Bahia, Brazil.
His extensive knowledge of the songs and the rhythms of the different Orixás has lead to his acceptance as a ceremonial drummer in the ‘Ilé Axé Oponda’, a Candomblé house of the Orixá known as ‘Oxum’. Jon teaches and performs regularly in the U.K. both solo and with his current project Grupo Ilu Axé. He also supports workshops by master Brazilian dancers, and to date has played for Rosangela Silvestre, Augosto Omolu and Laercio Dos Anjos. He also regularly works with Alain Hernandez.
Alain is a master dancer, choreographer and teacher, with a deep understanding, and broad knowledge of the religious, folkloric and popular dances of Cuba. He was born and grew up Havana, next to a religious house of the Afro-Cuban religion of ‘Santeria’. As a boy Alain was drawn by the Orishas to become a ‘Santero’, an adherent of Santeria, and so from a very early age began learning the dances of the Orishas (Orixás). Santeria is the Cuban equivalent of Brazilian Candomblé, the religion of the Africans forced into slavery i the ‘New World’.
Like Candomblé it fuses beautiful dances with complex drum rhythms and Yoruban derived ‘call and answer’ songs. Alain’s grandfather is a Babalawo – a kind of priest within the Santeria religion – who is overseeing Alain’s training in also becoming a Babalawo. Alain has always danced. At the age of five he won a prestigious dance prize in Havana, and was soon chosen to join a dance company performing popular Cuban dances. He moved to the U.K. some eight years ago and now lives in Bristol. As well as regularly teaching in Bristol, Alain also teaches in Europe and the rest of the U.K.