Angel Luis Figueroa & Los Tres Caballeros
Los Tres Caballeros is a batá drumming and vocal ensemble. It is led by Angel Luís Figueroa
The band features chanting, drumming
A Batá drum is a double-headed drum shaped like an hourglass with one end larger than the other. The percussion instrument is used primarily for the use of religious or semi-religious purposes for the native culture from the land of Yoruba, located in Nigeria, as well as by worshippers of Santería in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and in the United States. The Batá drum's popular functions are entertainment and to convey messages. Its early function was as a drum of different gods, drum of royalty, drum of ancestors and drum of politicians. Batá drum impacted on all spheres of life.
In Cuba, the batá consists of a set of three tapered cylinders of various sizes. Iyá, the largest, is referred to as "mother drum". Itótele, the middle one, and Okónkolo, the smallest, are called "father" and "baby", respectively. In Nigeria, there are five sizes of batá, which can be played either by hand, or using a leather play strap. In Matanzas, the older Batá lineages play with one hand and the sole of a shoe or other improvised strap. In Cuba, it is common to see the drums decorated with small bells and chimes, which are called Saworoide or "Saworo" in Yorubaland and Chaworoide or "Chaworo" in Cuba; such bells are attached to one or two "igbaju" leather straps for mounting on the Iya. The larger drum head is called the "enu", while the smaller is the "chacha".
In Yoruba land, Bata drum has different parts which are: 1) Igi Ilu: This is the wooden frame work of the drum. 2) Leather: This is the part of the drum that bring out the tone of the drum. There are two piles of leathers in a Bata drum. One is to bring out the tone of the drum, while the other is to cover the one that brings out the tone of the drum. 3) Egi Ilu: This helps to hold the leather firm to the wooden frame. it is usually constructed with the use of small bunch of thick brooms also known as Igbale gbaro. The brooms are curved to take the proper shape and size of the top and bottom of the wooden frame of the drum. After the sizes have been obtained, strong threads are used to tighten the buch of thick brooms. After that, pieces of cloths are used to cover the tighten brooms to beautify it. 4) Osan: This is made from thick leathers. This serves as the wire work of the drum. It helps in holding both the leather and Egi Ilu in place. 5) Iro: This is the black substance that is found on the surface of the leather of Bata drum. It primary purpose is to vary the tones from different faces of the drum. It is usually obtained from a tree. all the faces of bata have this substance apart from the face that is called Ako- this face gives the highest tone in the drum. 6) Bulala: This is also made of thick leather. it is used to play the drum. Nowadays, flexible plastics are being cut to look like leather bulala. This flexible plastics can also be used to play the drum. 7) Cowry: This is always inserted into Bata drums. People call it AYAN
Angel Luis Figueroa was featured in FolkWorks in 2014. Check out the article by Jonathan Schifflett
Angel Luís Figueroa is leading a Bata Traditions Workshop