Afro-Cuban drummer performs at Mission San Luis

Kenneth Burney and the Eru Chambo Band.
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The Florida Folklife Program (FFP) as a part of its folklife artist in residence program held its annual evening concert at Mission San Luis on Thursday night, bringing to town one of Florida’s most highly regarded Afro-Cuban musicians, Kenneth Burney and the Eru Chambo Band.

The event was met with a packed house in the San Luis auditorium with the live band playing traditional music involving batà, guiro, rumba and cajón rhythms, all crucial elements to preserving and honoring the ancient folklore tradition.

Burney has worked in the afro-cuban jazz scene for more than 40 years and is pleased that people still appreciate their genre of music.

“We’re so glad that this program sponsors this music. A lot of our youth are missing out on this great traditional music because it is being replaced with hip hop,“ Burney said. “Jazz is American music, and Afro-Cuban music is the marriage of African rhythms with Spanish melodies, it’s essential for preserving the Yoruba Tradition.”

The performance also showcased a piece of a traditional Yoruba ceremony honoring the Yoruba Orishas, a native religion to Nigeria, which spread across all of the African Diaspora.

Amanda L. Hardman the State Folklorist at the Bureau of Historic Preservation who organized the event says it’s been one of the most anticipated events of the year.

“We host a number of events throughout the year but I’ve been planning this event for months now, and it’s a real treat,” Hardman said . “I would love to see it come to Florida A&M University and have students come out to our annual Folk Fest in May as well.”

Cecilia Ayala an audience member who was visiting from New York City says she was drawn to the event because of it’s breathtaking rhythms.

“It’s the African drumbeats that just resonate inside me, I couldn’t stay still in my seat. I just had to get up and dance,” expressed Ayala.

The FFP will host a number of events throughout this year and next, for a calendar of upcoming events you can visit or call (850)-245-6427.