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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Davide Giovannini
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!


Musician: Davide Giovannini

Location: Brixton, London

Instruments: Batá drums

Music: Cuban

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story





Explore bat&aacute drum rhythms with our own online Bat&aacute Drum Player

Listen  Listen (7'05) to an audio feature recorded at a Cuban Santeria party in Brixton. Presented by Lucy Duran; featuring Cuban-born Londoner Mario Lopez, with Davide Giovannini and friends on batá drums. (Broadcast on Radio 3: 29/1/02)

Listen  Listen (4'59) to 'Yemalla' sung and played by Davide Giovannini with friends in Brixton.

Watch  Watch (4'05) Davide and friends in Brixton.


A favourite song:

This song is dedicated to Yemalla, one of the major orishas in the Yoruba pantheon. She is the mother of life, the mother of all orishas, the goddess of the sea, the source of life. Her colours are white and blue, the colours of the sea. She's a very strong orisha, worshipped a lot in Cuba. The language of the chants arrived in Cuba with the slaves and was passed on without any books. So it's been an oral tradition, which means that words slightly modify, they meld with Spanish. It's very ancient, and who knows how much has changed over the years.

I play one of the batá drums. I should be playing the three of them, as most of the drummers do. You start from the small one and move to the medium and then the big one. At the moment I play the medium one, which is called itótele, and I'm learning the other two. And then we all sing choral, and there's a soloist as well.

Each one of these songs is dedicated to a specific deity. So a song can last twenty minutes, one hour. It depends, on the vibe, on the sequence that you build. You sing the chant for the deity, and after that comes another one -- you have a path of chants. Sometimes you follow that path, sometimes you just go for the vibe, and that way you build the song.

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