A few years back I used to attend Carlos Aldama's class in the Mission District of San Francisco. It was held in the very colorful playground of Cesar Chavez school. Carlos Aldama was always so passionate and humble at these classes.
Carlos Aldama is of course famous for his role in the renown Conjunto Folklorico de Nacional, particlularly as a bata player in the Havana style.
Recently an educator at my hometown of Monterey, CSU Monterey Bay's Umi Vaughan, has written an incredible biography about Carlos Aldama; Carlos Aldama's Life in Bata. Umi is an anthropolgist and specializes in subject of the African diaspora. He is also a student of bata and has been studying under Carlos Aldama.
Next week, on June 20th, my good friend Matt Leffel who works at the famous City Lights Bookstore here in San Francisco, has arranged a performance on bata by Carlos Aldama in conjunction with the release of his new biography. Carlos Aldama rarely gives public performances nowadays, and even less frequently does he perform on bata, so this is a rare treat and not to be missed. If you are in the area I recommend visiting City Lights and seeing the maestro perform on bata.
Here is more info on the performance from City Lights and other links.
Who: Carlos Aldama with Umi Vaughan
What: An evening of Music, Storytelling, and Discussion
Where: City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, California
When: Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 7:00 P.M.
Afro-Cuban master drummer Carlos Aldama will appear at City Lights with his student and co-author, Umi Vaughan, to celebrate the release of their collaborative book Carlos Aldama's Life in Bata: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum.
Dr. Vaughan will present the book, which follows Carlos' life from Havana to the East Bay and documents his experiences becoming and living as omo Añá : one sworn to drum. Readings and anecdotes will alternate with performances from the sacred repertoire of the bata drums by Carlos with accompanists.
Carlos Aldama has made significant contribution to the richness and livelihood of Afro-Cuban music and spiritual traditions. Born in Havana, he was a founding member of Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba, studying under its original musical director, Jesus Pérez (Oba Ilu), and later serving as musical director himself. He is omo Añá (sworn to the drum) and a priest of Changó in the Santería religion.
Umi Vaughan is an artist and anthropologist who explores dance, creates photographs and performances, and publishes about African Diaspora culture. He is also omo Añá and is a priest of Ochun in the Santería religion. He is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay, and author of Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba.