The Nanigo

The Nanigo rhythm originated in the Yoruba tribes of Nigeria. It was influenced by Cuban culture after being brought to Cuba from Africa during the years of African-Cuban slave trade. It is thought that the Nanigo rhythm originated from the religious worship of the Orishas during a “Bembe,” or celebration of the spirits. It is the mysterious, voodoo roots of the Nanigo beat, and the perception of its players, that added to the repression of the African culture within Cuba. The fear of the “Nanigo,” or the African male (whether from Nigeria or not) in Cuba may have actually led to the ban of the Conga drum, a modern staple of Cuban music, because it was feared that the Nanigo population would use the Conga drum as a means of communication between the communities, much like in tribal Africa.

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