Review: Videos Just Out...
by Ruben Roderick
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Ache Moyuba Orisha (Memory Pictures ) SANTERIA
A documentary on the aspects of the Santeria religion and Catholicism. The narrator is Enrique Hernandez who explains the various facets of Santeria, both Palo and Abakua. Also seen is a Santeria ceremony, a Catholic church mass on Sunday, and a bembé ceremony. A variety of professionals from differing fields (religious, scientific, medical - psychiatry and psychology, and other eductators) are interviewed and offer their views of Santeria and Catholicism. Various aspects of the different orichas (Chango, Obatala, Osshun, Yemaya, and Eleggua) are shared with us. 42 minutes. Good sound, color and quality. Directed by Cristina Gonzalez. Made in Cuba.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: En El Pais De Los Orichas (Memory Pictures ) SANTERIA
This video details the impact of the orishas and their influence on Cuban culture and society on a daily basis. The performing groups are Conjunto Folklorico Nacional De Cuba, Yoruba Andabo, Los Gemelos Pinillos and others. The performances include a santeria bembé, an interview with Lazaro Ros, the different forms of rumba - Yambú, Guaguancó, and Columbia, and dancers. Also shown is the rhythm Són, a traditional form of Cuban dance. The folkloric segment shows a short clip of an Abakua "diablito" dancing to a Abakua rhythm. In the Lucumí (Santeria) segment we see dancers performing to the various orishas Oshun, Changó, etc. The color and overall quility is good. 42 minutes. Directed by Cristina Gonzalez. Made in Cuba.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: La Última Rumba De Papá Montero (Memory Pictures ) FOLKLORIC
A story of music, love and death. The highlights of this video are the participation of Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba, rumba singers Carlos Embale, Candito Zayas, and Teresa Poyedo. The video opens with a funeral procession and dance sequence which includes the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Yambú, Guaguancó, and Columbia. This video is a theatrical interpretation of the interaction of santeria orishas. The characters are Papa Montero (son of Chango). Cheo Mallanga (Son of Oggun), Gabriella (daughter of Osshun), and Rafaella (wife of Papa Montero and daughter of Oya), Andrea (daughter of Yemaya) and Antonio (son of Eleggua). There are dance sequences done at a tavern (el són) and a fight sequence choreographed via the rumba columbia, as well as a comparsa which highlights the death of Papa Montero. The core of this video is about the investigation into the mysterious death (and life) of rumbero Papa Montero in Havana some 30 years ago. The death at the comparsa culminated from an intense love triangle between Papa Montero, Gabriella and Cheo Mallanga. Listen for the call and response throughout the video. Quality is very good - clear and excellent color. Highly recommended. 57 minutes. Directed by Octavio Cortázar. Made in Cuba.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Los Dioses Del Futuro (Memory Pictures ) SANTERIA
A socio-historical documentary of cultural and artistic events being celebrated by various Afro-Caribbean cultures from Santo Domingo, Haiti, Venezuela, and Cuba's Festival of Fire in Santiago de Cuba. The various performing groups demonstrate musical dance forms and rhythms such as merengue, rumba (guaguanco and columbia) etc. Theatrical performers, artists, santeria - bembé and palo ceremonies, as well as a classical performance are documented. A short historical interpretation shows how the slaves were brought to the Americas with emphasis on the Caribbean. It shows how Cuba and Africa has endured and survived by developing and enhancing the culture by assimilation with other cultures. Approx. 1 hour. Good color and quality.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Nganga Kiyangala (Memory Pictures ) PALO MONTE
An in-depth look into the roots of the Congo religion of Bantu origin known as Palo Monte. The narrator in this video is a well known Cuban enthnologist named Miguel Barnet who proceeds to explain the aspects of Palo Monte and it's historical significance. Palo symbals - cross, moon, skulls, lines, animal blood etc - are explained. He also speaks of Juan El Palero and his cauldron which consists of iron and other metal objects, cross, skull, wood, etc. A Palo ceremony is shown as well as the possesion of two individuals during the ceremony. Barnet shares info about Palo words that are used in the Spanish vocabularyin Cuba. He also states that Rumba (Yambu, Guaguanco, and Columbia) rhythms have remnants of Congo origin. For a relatively short (33 minutes.) video, there is a lot of information here. Color. Directed by Tato Quiñones and Luis A. Soto. Made in Cuba.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Oggun (Memory Pictures ) SANTERIA
A documentary on santeria religion. The narration in this video is by Lazaro Ros. Shown is a Santeria ceremony with Lazaro and batá drummers in Havana and Matanza. Accompanying Lazaro Ros in Matanza is singer Felipe Alfonso. In addition to the Santeria ceremony is a bembé. The video tells the story of the orisha Oggun, God of Iron and All Metals, and another orisha named Osshun who captivates Oggun with honey. Osshun wants to have the secret of making iron by luring Oggun out from the mountain were he lived and worked. The narrator Ros speaks of the various orishas: Eleggua, Ochiosi, Oggun, Osshun, Oya and Changó. Aprrox. 42 minutes. Very good sound and color. Recommended for informative content.