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date: 16 December 2019

Aguabella, Francisco locked

  • Katherine Hagedorn


(b Simpson, Matanzas, Cuba, Oct 10, 1925; d Los Angeles, CA, May 7, 2010). Cuban drummer. A master drummer, Francisco Aguabella’s expertise in Afro-Cuban sacred drumming traditions included Lucumí batá, Iyesá, Arará, and Abakwá, as well as the popular genres of rumba, comparsa, salsa, rock, and Latin jazz. At age 12, Aguabella began playing Lucumí batá drums with friend and mentor Esteban “Chacha” Vega. At 18, he joined the local Abakwá society Efi Yumane, befriending fellow drummer Julito Collazo. In 1947 Aguabella moved to Havana to work as a longshoreman and musician. He played sacred batá drums for Lucumí ceremonies and performed in the popular “Sun Sun Babae” show at the Sans Souci Club with Trinidad Torregrosa, Raul Díaz, and Merceditas Valdés until the early 1950s. He also played lead quinto for the comparsa band “Los Dandys de Belen.” In 1953 choreographer Katherine Dunham invited Aguabella to join her dance company, with whom he toured Europe, South America, the United States, and Australia for the next four years. In ...

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