Class Descriptions: Elizabeth Sayre

Beginning Batá
This class is appropriate for two groups of women: those who have absolutely no experience with Afro-Cuban batá drumming and want to try it, or those who have a little experience on the drums and want to try another chair in the trio. We will cover the basics: where the drums come from and what they’re for (briefly), posture, correct hand technique, an introduction to each of the three drums (iyá, itótele, okónkolo) and how they work in the ensemble, strategies for listening, and some basic toques (rhythms) such as Lalubanche, Ogún, Iyankotá, or others.

All Levels Batá
This class is for any level of batá student (from beginner to advanced). We will first briefly review the basics of posture and technique for each of the three drums (iyá, itótele, okónkolo), and depending on students’ experience and interest, we will cover several toques (rhythms) such as Yakotá, Sokutanibo, Iyamase lobi Changó, or others.

Intermediate/Advanced Batá
This class will move more quickly than the other two classes, and assumes that students already have experience studying and playing Afro-Cuban batá. We will focus on how to create strong transitions from one musical or energetic state to another in batá drumming. Depending on students’ interest and experience, we will do one of two things: study an advanced toque (rhythm) such as Meta Meta or Alaro, or take a sequence of orisha songs and learn how to accompany them correctly with the batá.

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