St. Kitts – Nevis Drummers To Explore Cuban Rhythms

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 10, 2008 (SKNIS)

Eduardo Reyes, a renowned percussionist from Cuba, is wrapping up a one month tour of St. Kitts, happy to have shared the rhythms of his country with locals.

The visit was a collaboration between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the locally based Embassy of Cuba.

Señor Reyes worked with drummers from the Okolo Tegremantine Dance Theater as he reviewed the techniques of playing the Cha, Cha, Cha, Rumba, Bolero and Danzon rhythms. The majority of his time was spent working with young people in the National Youth Drum Corps as well as in primary schools and the Special Education Unit. The Latin percussionist noted that there was a wealth of life skills that young people can learn from music and wished that more local youth were interested.

“I visited many schools and found that it was a bit of a shame that a large number of students did not have an interest in learning the art form,” he said through a translator, adding that those that did show an interest had “genuine potential.”

Señor Reyes was particularly pleased with the National Youth Drum Corps. He worked with the group three times per week playing the Batá drum ““ a double-headed drum shaped like an hourglass with one cone larger than the other.

The Cuban percussionist has performed in many countries around the world including Chile, Italy, France, Mexico and Spain and explained that he is impressed with St. Kitts.

“I find that this country is a very nice place and the people are generally very happy,” he explained. “Although I am not able to speak English and a lot of the persons I met could not speak Spanish, I have had a very good experience. We were able to overcome [the language] barrier because the language of music overcame everything.”

“It [music] is universal and once the training started and the music started it was very easy to understand each other,” he concluded.

Besides being a renowned drummer, Señor Reyes is also an artist. Several of his paintings are on exhibit today (Thursday) at the Pelican Mall. Additionally, the general public is invited to a musical presentation at Port Zante on Friday. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. and will feature a fusion of the Latin and Afro-Caribbean styles of drumming.

The percussionist returns to Cuba on Tuesday.

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