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Briyumba is a full force Palo CD. Palo is an Afro-Cuban religion, and this CD is full of authentic Palo Monte chants and prayers. So whether you are a palero or palera, or are just curious about the music of Palo Monte, then this CD is for you.

Palo Monte may be used as a general term for a variety of religions derived from the Kongo-Angola region of Central West Africa. It is based upon communication with ancestral spirits, the dead, as opposed to the orishas of the Lukumí religion, most of whom are living, growing, embodiments of natural forces. In Cuba, many Kongo-derived religions developed, and, depending upon their variations, may be called by different names, including Palo Monte, Mayombe, Briyumba, and La Regla Kimbisa del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje, among others. The initiated (Engueyo, Padre Nganga, and Tata Nkisi) work in conjunction with a large ceramic pot or three-footed iron cauldron, which is “charged” with “sticks” (palos), earths, stones, and, often, human and animal relics. The aggregation of spiritually imbued substances in the pot is called a caldero, prenda, nganga, or nkisi. The particular character and function of each pot revolve around one of many different archetypal spirits, called mpungu, such as Lucero Mundo, Sarabanda, Siete Rayos, Cobayende, Tiembla Tierra, Mama Chola, Madre de Agua, Centella Ndoki etc. The pots they constitute may also have deeper nick names, such as Brazo Fuerte (Strong Arm), Vira Mundo (World Turner), Mala Fama (Infamous), and Buey Suelto (Loose Ox), etc. So that the pot do its work in the other world in order to effect changes in this world, the priest works with perhaps as many as 21 spirits of the deceased. Military metaphors colorfully describe the way paleros work. They create a spiritual perimeter at the four corners of their property to protect themselves. They may invade their enemy’s territory and establish a similar perimeter, which they can monitor, for defensive or offensive purposes. Palo work is seen to be “strong,” “quick,” and effective, not least because the priest makes a contract with the dead that must be acted upon, whereas the Lukumí orishas do not like quid pro quo exchanges.

Traditionally, Kongo-Cuban based religious music, utilized to praise and invoke the spirits to come down and “work,” was played on drums called ngoma (Ki-Kongo), also called Tambor de Yuka and Makuta. Three tubular, hand-hewn drums with goatskin heads attached by nails, were called, in descending order, caja, mula, and cachimbo. The three drums were accompanied by an iron hoe blade (guataca) beaten with a metal rod (hierro), sometimes a wrench. Today, the hoe blade is still used, but most often, the drums are the familiar conga-type. The vocal section consists of a soloist (cantante) and a chorus. The soloist engages in call and response songs with the chorus. Soloists may switch off, as well as engage in sung exchanges and repartee with each other, in which puyas, a bold form of ritual “insult” or jibe are “thrown” (tirar) back and forth. The music, and the accompanying dances, are very strong and forceful, because the Palo spirits are considered guerreros (warriors). When they possess their priests, the Palo spirits, work very “materially,” that is with herbs, sticks, liquor, bones, tabacco, and, sometimes, “blood” (sacrifices), unlike other dead spirits, who work more “spiritually,” with prayers, perfumes, and flowers.


Track List

  1. Con Licensia (click to download mp3 sample)
  2. Lucero3. Siete Rayos
  3. Siete Rayos (click to download mp3 sample)
  4. Madre Agua (click to download mp3 sample)
  5. Centella
  6. Mama Chola
  7. Auum
  8. Cobayende (click to download mp3 sample)
  9. Yo vengo pa guerriar (click to download mp3 sample)
  10. Mama Chola
  11. Candela Colorá
  12. Sarabanda
  13. Ajuntamelo Toito


Vocals: Lázaro Percussion: Pete, Pedro, Joey Konguito.Chorus: Colorá, Martha, La Nena, Milton, La India Taina, Ray, and Iris.

Produced by Manny for 4th King Productions



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