Conference: Congo-Cuba in New York

Date(s) - 05/11/2015
All Day

Skylight Room


Congo-Cuba in New York: Palo Mayombe Music, Dance, and Religion

A conference and discussion between scholars and community practitioners
hosted by The CUNY Advanced Research Collaborative, the Music Department at the Graduate Center, The Center for the Humanities, and the Dominican Studies Group

Monday May 11, 2015
CUNY Graduate Center
Skylight Room 9100
365 Fifth Avenue
(bet. 34th and 35th Streets)
Trains: B,D,F,M to 34th St.; 6 to 33rd St.

Join leading scholars, priests, and performers of Afro-Cuban Congo culture for enlightening presentations and discussions exploring the ways music, dance, religion, and philosophy influence how a people conceive of themselves,  negotiate relationships with each other, and their history. Participants will elaborate the ways practitioners surface notions of warfare, identity, and power through drum and music practice. What theoretical organizing frameworks surface through the music, dance, and religious practice and what are their relationships to Congo, to Cuba, and to other Congo-influenced practices such as Petwo in Haiti? What is unique to Palo Mayombe and how does this impact current knowledge in Caribbean Studies, African Diaspora Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Cultural Studies?

Scholars will each identify and elaborate on the analytical lenses they employ in their scholarly and cultural organizing work with Afro-Cuban palo mayombe music and dance, updating the field on their recent findings and the implications this has for themes covered in Ethnomusicology, Cultural Anthropology, and History. Presentations and panel discussions will be followed by an interactive discussion with the audience.


12-12:10pm Welcome- Manuela Arciniegas, Ryan Mann-Hamilton, CUNY Graduate Center PhD Candidates in Music and Anthropology

12:10-12:20 Introduction- Spirituality and Culture in the Diaspora- Professor C. Daniel Dawson, Columbia University

12:20-12:30 Connections to Caribbean Music Studies-  Dr. Peter Manuel, Music Department, John Jay College, CUNY

12:30-1:15 A Visit to Mbanza Kongo- Ned Sublette, Historian, Musicologist, Composer, and Producer

1:15 1:45 Spirituality and Religion Through The Mambo – Alex LaSalle, High Priest, Singer

1:45-2:45 The Congo Drum Hidden Language- John Amira & Co., Musician and Educator of Palo, Haitian Petwo, and Bata

2:45-3:15 Embodying Warfare: W(rite) and Dance of Cuban Congos- Yesenia Fernandez Selier, Performer, Researcher, PhD Candidate/NYU

3:15-4 Audience Question and Answer, Discussion

For information or link to live-stream, please visit:[]



Román Díaz Afro Cuban Music Ensemble with special guests
from the Oyu Oro dance company

Pre-concert Talk with Roman Diaz and Professor Daniel Dawson, 6:15pm

Concert- 7pm

365 Fifth Avenue
(bet. 34th and 35th Streets)
Trains: B,D,F,M to 34th St.; 6 to 33rd St.
Tickets $15/$12 CUNY staff & students (contact 212-817-8215 for discount information)

Produced and curated by Live Sounds.

Master percussionist, scholar, and composer Román Díaz is a living repository of Afro-Cuban music. This special performance features his all-star Afro-Cuban Music Ensemble, along with special guests from the Oyu Oro dance company. The artists will premiere Ibú – Ngoma, a selection of the diverse folkloric traditions inherited in Cuba from West Africa and the Caribbean, highlighting lineages from the Congo, Abakuá, and Haiti. Díaz has performed and recorded with a “who’s who” of Cuban artists and jazz masters, including Paquito D’Rivera, Wynton Marsalis, and Pancho Quinto. As a member of the ensemble Yoruba Andabo, he helped create the sound that has defined Cuban rumba since the 1980s. His mastery of Batá drumming, along with his rock solid groove on congas, is present on countless recordings worldwide. For more information or to purchase tickets:[]



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