» Historical memory of the rumba made available to the Cuban public
02.10.2017 - UNESCO Havana/Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Historical memory of the rumba made available to the Cuban public

With the release of the third issue of Timbalaye magazine, the Cuban public has been presented with a wide selection of photographs and documents on the development of the Cuban rumba since it came into being, as well as an overview of several editions of the Festival.

Articles written by important researchers, including Dr Miguel Barnet, President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and ethnologist Argeliers León, illustrate and document the development of this genre, recently inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Pedro de La Hoz, journalist and UNEAC Vice-President, made the announcement as the magazine was launched at the House of Africa. On this occasion, Camán lloró, an anthology of the poetry written by Cuba’s Eloy Machado Pérez, the Poet of the Rumba, popularly known as El Ambia, was also released.

Gaetano Longo, the Italian writer who compiled the anthology, brought to mind that Machado Pérez has worked for over 30 years as a cultural promoter of the rumba in the activity he directs at the UNEAC gardens.

The poetry of El Ambia, “friend” in the Yoruba language, is nurtured by Cuba’s popular culture and the rumba itself, through a language rich in rhythm and terms of African origin, which have been assimilated as part of the Cuban identity.

In both texts, the public has at its disposal an extensive historical memory of a genre that continues to be developed and enjoyed by the population. The Cuban people preserve it for future generations, not only through events promoted by Cuban cultural institutions, but also through the work of bearers in communities and neighbourhoods.

After the two presentations were made, Dr Miguel Barnet, as President of the Fernando Ortiz Foundation, took the floor in order to grant the Director and Founder of the Timbalaye Festival, Ulises Mora, a diploma recognizing his dedication to the development and promotion of the rumba in Cuba and the world.

The Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Katherine Muller-Marin in her closing speech highlighted the importance of the rumba as an indispensable element of the Cuban identity, as the event promotes a space for the respect of cultural diversity and development, and for the cultural exchange and enhancement of traditions.

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