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Los Muñequitos de Matanzas^491 A previous generation of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas^491 Los Munequitos de Matanzas. Photo by Tom Ehrlich.^491 Los Munequitos de Matanzas. Photo by Tom Ehrlich.^491 Los Munequitos de Matanzas. Photo by John Lesson..^491 A previous generation of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas^491 Los Munequitos de Matanzas. Photo by Tom Ehrlich.^491

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas

After an almost decade long absence, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas returned to the U.S. in April-May 2011 with a brand new program: Tambor de Fuego en Homenaje a los Ancestros , featuring work from their latest recording, tributes to legendary members and new pieces created especially for this eagerly awaited tour.
  
Hailed as the "reigning regents of rumba" by the San Francisco Chronicle, "the essence of Cuba's musical soul" by the San Diego Union Tribune and "truly keepers of a sacred flame" by Latin Beat, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas are amongst the highest regarded percussionists in the world and masters of Afro-Cuban ritual and rumba music and dance. Founded in 1952, the group currently spans three generations of an extended family of musicians, singers and dancers.  
  
The music of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas keeps alive 500 years of drumming, chanting and dance, preserving the vibrant culture of the African Diaspora intrinsic to Cuba's living legacy.  While sustaining these cultural traditions, the group's choreography and new musical compositions continue to innovate from the African roots of Cuban culture.  In one evening's concert, Los Muñequitos may play the rhythms and drumming of the Santeria religion which originated with the Yoruba tribe; the songs of the Abakuá, a secret fraternal organization originally from Nigeria; and contemporary Cuban rumba in its varied and ever evolving forms.

Members of the Muñequitos who traveled to the U.S. for the 2011 tour included: Diosdado Ramos, Director & dancer; Bárbaro Ramos, dancer; Luis Cancino, singer; Agustín Diaz, salidor (conga); Eddy Espinosa, tumbadora/quinto/cajón; Israel Berriel Gonzalez, singer; Reyniel Lopez Gonzalez, singer; Freddy Jesús Alfonso Borges, tumbadora/quinto; José Andro Mella Bosch, singer; Rafael Navarro "El Niño" Pujada, singer; Ana Pérez, singer/dancer; Luis Deyvis Ramos, dancer; Diosdado Enier Ramos "Figurín", singer/dancer; Vivian Ramos, dancer; Esther Yamilet Ramos, dancer; and Caridad Diéz, General Producer. The group was accompanied by Estrella Quiroga, U.S. Tour Manager and Scott Wardinsky, U.S. Tour Technical Director.

The 2011 U.S. Tour included performances at Meany Hall for the Performing Arts, Washington University (Seattle, WA); San Francisco International Art Festival at Mission High School (San Francisco, CA); Savannah Music Festival (Savannah, GA); Rialto Center for the Performing Arts (Atlanta, GA); University of Florida Performing Arts (Gainesville, FL); Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts co-presented with Miami Light Project (Miami, FL); David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (Tampa, FL); National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque, NM); The Lensic Center (Santa Fe, NM); Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University (Washington, DC); Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia, PA); Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH); August Wilson Center for African American Culture (Pittsburgh, PA); MASS MoCA co-presented with Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (North Adams, MA); World Music Institute at Symphony Space (New York, NY); The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (Purchase, NY).

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas exclusively play Latin Percussion (LP) brand percussion instruments. New York City engagements of Los Muñequitos were supported in part by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.