In Association with


Stage Of The Arts, Inc.
Post Office Box 26688, Los Angeles, California 90026 (323) 960 0389 AfroCuba

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas "Live in L.A"
directed by Alvaro Perez Betancourt

WHAT: The best Rumba from Cuba: the legendary Muñequitos de Matanzas presenting a unique review of music and dance "Live in L.A.", a video directed by Alvaro Perez from the theatrical presentation of "La Rumba Soy Yo" (I am the Rumba). Recorded August 2001 at the Wilshire Theatre of Los Angeles. Produced by Stage Of The Arts, Inc. under license for OPCION SONICA USA.


WHEN: September, Thursday 26, 2002 7:30 PM
VIDEO RELEASE Party. Screening: color/57 min

WHERE: Cafe Bolivar and Gallery
1741 Ocean Park Boulevard. Santa Monica, California 90405. Parking available
Phone: (310) 581-2344

INFORMATION: (323) 960-0389; (323) 906-2610 Email:

A year ago, September 11, 2001 after touring during a month in California and performing with the musical review "La Rumba Soy Yo" at the Wilshire Theatre, the ensemble of 17 top rumberos was scheduled to perform at the television showcase of the Latin Grammy Awards.

The World has more dramatic images to view on that tragical date with the attack at the WTC. The Grammy ceremonies became cancelled; it was later announced that the compilation CD "La Rumba Soy Yo" received the Award to the Best Folkloric Production.

The group got its start fifty years ago, in 1952 at a bar in Barrio La Marina in Matanzas, Cuba, when a group of youths began following the rhythms of a song by Arsenio Rodríguez that was then playing, using dishes and bottles, as is the style in "kitchen rumbas". Then and there, they decided to create a group to play in fiestas and dances in the barrio, contacting professional musician, Florentino Calle "Catalino". Their emphasis was on rumba in three variants -el yambú (from Matanzas), a slow rhythm danced by couples, la columbia, a rural which men alone would dance as it urban rumba. All these variants are based on percussion, with instruments such as clave, la catá. la guagua, la maraca, las congas and even the batá.

At the begining, the group was called Guaguancó Matancero, and was made up of Florencio Calle, Gregorio Díaz, Angel Pellado, Ernesto Torriente, Juan Mesa, Hortensio Alfonso, Esteban Lantri and Pablo Mesa, percusionists all. They recorded their first record in 1953 under this name and it included on one side "Los beodos" (the drunkers) and on the other "Los Muñequitos de la calle" (the cartoons are on the streets). This last song which dealt with characters from comic strips in Cuba proved to be very popular and people started calling them Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, which became their name. They recorded for the Puchito label before the the Revolution and since have made many records with the state company EGREM, always giving percussion the mos important role. Many member have come and gone through the group over the years and today there are three generations int he group, considered by many the most important rumba group in Cuba. The current director is Diosdado Ramos Cruz.

Their discography is a full list, and includes "El guaguancó de Matanzas" (Siboney,88), "Los Muñequitos de Matanzas" (Ace,90), "Rumba caliente" (Qbdisc,92), "Oyelos de nuevo" (Artex,93), "Real Rumba" (Corasón,94), "Vacunao" (Qbdisc,95), "Ito Iban Eshu" (Qbdisc,96) and "La Rumba soy yo" (Bis Music,2000).

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas are part of the living legend of African music in Cuba, and they remain very close to their Abakuá (Efik/Efo) roots. (

Producing Director is Jorge Luis Rodríguez. Stage Of The Arts, is a non-profit California Educational corporation funded 1982.

Post-production & graphic design by escuchalo productions -

A presentation of the AfroCuban Research Group ( Stage Of The Arts, Inc. in collaboration with Educational Opportunity Programs and the International Programs and Services Departments of California State University in Los Angeles.

Under license for OPCION SONICA USA; 32221 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, Ca 90039. Email:
OPCION SONICA S.A. DE C.V. is a division of Next Millenium Music S.A. de C.V.

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