Lukumi and Palo Briyumba spiritual practices
Catherine Scott is an Iyalosha (Lukumi priest) and a Yaya (palera or priest in Palo Briyumba). Both Lukumi and Palo Briyumba have origins in Africa (Nigeria/Benin, Kongo respectively) and have manifestations throughout the African Diaspora. They entail food, dance, music, and ceremony. Scott is one of the oldest godchildren of Felipe García Villamil, a ninety-three-year-old National Heritage Fellow and practitioner of Lukumi and Palo Briyumba from Matanzas, Cuba, who can trace his family back to Oyo, Nigeria, and the Congo. She has participated in rituals and celebrations with him for over twenty-eight years and is now preparing to share them with the next generation.
Living Cultures Grant
Abrete kutu güiridinga! “Listen up and hear my words!”
Working with Felipe García Villamil, Scott will learn the relationships between what practitioners of Palo sing, eat, and do, while also clarifying the role of women. She will create two experiences, tied to the Palo calendar’s seasonal days of significance, during which the community can participate.
As an apprentice to Ysamur Flores Peña, Scott furthered her training and role of Alashe (the person who prepares food for ceremony and offerings to the Orishas) within the community of Orisha practitioners. The apprenticeship focused on understanding specific verse and stories pertaining to each Orisha and the manner of presentation of meals.