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date: 13 November 2019

García Villamil, Felipe locked

  • Katherine Hagedorn


(b Pueblo Nuevo, Matanzas, Cuba, 1931). American cuban drummer, craftsman, and instrument maker. He descended from Lucumí, Kongo, Abakwá, and rumba musicians, and learned each of these Afro-Cuban performance traditions. At five he inherited a set of batá drums, and ten years later he was performing in Lucumí ceremonies. In 1946 he was invited to play congas for Rafael Somavilla’s jazz band, and he continued to perform as a ceremonial and stage musician throughout the 1950s. After the socialist revolution in 1959, García Villamil worked in the sugar industry in Sancti Spíritus province. During the 1960s he also performed dance music for the government-run Juntas Unificadas de Coordinación Económica. In 1970 he formed the folkloric performance group Emikeké. During the Mariel Boatlift in 1980, he migrated to the United States. He settled in New York, where he directed the folkloric group Tradición Matancera and revived Emikeké. With the latter he performed at the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum for African Art in New York, among other venues. In ...

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