Felipe García Villamil

Afro-Cuban batá

In the Afro-Cuban Lucumi religious community, music in general, and drums in particular, are an integral part of worship.  An elder in the Lucumi tradition, Felipe García Villamil comes from a long lineage of drummers, on his mother’s side traceable to Africa.  Felipe was named a NEA National Heritage Fellow in 2000.

In 2002, Felipe was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program with apprentices Ajami Smith and Nery Madrid.  As the godfather of both Ajami and Nery , Felipe is responsible for their development as drummers for Lucumi religious ceremonies, as well as for their spiritual growth.  Prior to their apprenticeship, both young men had already received various initiations in the Lucumi religion, including the washing of hands required to play the sacred batá


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