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Pablo Roche was a famous bata-drummer from Havana and died around 1940. He is one of the cultural heroes and should be honored (like many others) for maintaining Yoruba-culture in the diaspora. We can only imagine the struggles he went through to keep on playing bata-drums. His nickname was Akilapa (in Cuba often written Akilakua), a common Yoruba-name meaning "the one with strong arms". An old historic ethnographic photo from Fernando Ortiz shows him holding an iya-ilu, the solo-drum of the bata-ensemble.

In the red and white drawing he is now sitting on a royal wooden Shango-mortar, as bata-players do sometimes in rituals. Bata-drums and Shango are very closely connected. This is the image for the people being proud of their musical and cultural heritage. Those who do not know the story just see a bata-drummer and a Yoruba-word, but you could tell them about it! Iba’e Akilapa Pablo Roche! 

Order "Akilapa" at the shop close to you!