Tumba Francesa la Caridad de Oriente is a 140-year old institution in Cuba.
The music of Tumba Francesa is a unique combination of African drums and French patois vocals alive in Cuba today.
This is the first in a series of albums reflecting Afro-Cuban culture newly recorded by Soul Jazz Records in Cuba. The Tumba Francesa La Caridad de Oriente won Cuba’s National Award for Community Culture and, in 2003, the title of UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the first such award to be bestowed on Cuba. This music was recorded in EGREM studios, the state owned studio in Santiago, eastern Cuba.
Tumba Francesa la Caridad de Oriente is situated in the economically poor Los Hoyos district of the city, a vibrant epi-centre of Afro-Cuban culture. In the 19th century there were hundreds of Tumba Francesa throughout Cuba. Now only two remain; Tumba Francesa of Santiago de Oriente and nearby Tumba Francesa de Guantanamo.
Originally mutual aid societies for the ex-slaves who fled the neighbouring Haitian Revolution, Tumba Francesas would put on elaborate shows during carnival dressed in ballroom costumes of 18th century France playing purely African music. Tumba Francesa La Caridad de Oriente continue this tradition today. The music of Tumba Francesa la Caridad de Oriente is at once both modern and traditional, both an important aspect of contemporary Cuba and coming with a vast cultural legacy.
The CD / LP comes complete with extensive sleevenotes and spoken introduction by the Afro-Cuban poet and writer Pedro Perez-Sarduy and photography by the New York writer, musician and broadcaster Ned Sublette.