A peculiar sound in Los Tambores de Bejucal
By Maria del Carmen Vasallo
Los Tambores de Bejucal (Bejucal Drums) has just obtained the National Community Culture Award, rounding off a great number of recognitions won on and off the island.
That outstanding folkloric group, emerged 44 years ago -on December 6, 1962-, from the fusion of the accompanying congas of Las Charangas de Bejucal, has also won the approval of the specialists and the public overall in the main Cuban squares.
The group has performed in Mexico (Veracruz, Chetumal and Cancun) Martinique, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg and Germany.
Robelio Pérez López (Yeyo), its director, says that the conga is only one, but it has peculiar sounds in each region, because those from Santiago de Cuba, Regla or Bejucal are not the same.
He highlights that the conga of Bejucal is dominated by the reja (plowshare), the campana (bell) and the cencerro (cowbell), and incorporated two trombones that changed the previous rhythm, which added it a different flavour.
He adds that the conga has in her favor the fact that practically everybody dances it: the most and the least cultured, white and black people, men and women, old and young people, in the end everybody, including the people from other latitudes.
Every yearend they return to their origins, since they split to form the accompanying congas of the Ceiba de Plata (Silver Ceiba) and the Espina de Oro (Golden Thorn) sides of the traditional Charangas of Bejucal, one of the oldest parties in Cuba, explains Pérez López and adds that Los Tambores de Bejucal perform alone generally, but they sometimes perform with Los Charangueros de Regla or Danza Moderna group too.
This group from Havana Province is currently composed of twelve members, eight founders among them, says Alexis Hernández Pérez, one of the founders of that folkloric group.
He commented that many of the musicians that are nearing the retirement age jubilation age or have already passed it, hence theyre working to guarantee the relief and some of the new stars play in the group.
Currently, the group has a reserve of 38 children and youths, aged 3-17, who are members of Los Tamborcitos de Bejucal, who have already participated in many activities of the locality with good results.
The Bejucal Drums emerged from the people and nourish from its lines, because theyre exponents of the genuine community culture.