The Franco-African music and dance group celebrates its 160th anniversary in Cuba

With a show tonight in the urban heart of Santiago, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Park, the members of the legendary group will receive the homage of the inhabitants of this oriental city and will offer the grace of their evolutions of dance, songs and touches of their ancestral instruments.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Andrea Quiala, president of the group and almost 80 years old, and Kelly Figueroa, her daughter and vice-president, at almost 40 years old, pointed out that there are 25 members of the group with a remarkable career as drummers, singers and dancers.

They have highlighted the youthfulness that prevails among the “tumberos” (drums) despite the past century and six decades, which guarantees the continuity and preservation of the authentic popular traditions of the original trunk of the Venet-Danger family.

They evoke Flavio, the 15-year-old teenager, Kelly’s son, who is the youngest “tumbero” of a tradition that has stood the test of time and which retains the original traces of French ballroom dancing mixed with African dances and rhythms. .

Andrea clarified that in each artistic presentation of the group, her daughter acts as governor or majority of the square, who directs the evolutions in the room, a spectacle that at its headquarters, in the historic center of the city, attracts dozens of tourists from the most diverse latitudes.

“It’s the best, the foreigners are coming and they’re ecstatic, they like what we’re doing and they’re sitting but moving their feet and dancing,” said the group’s president, who added that in the end they ended up in euphoria and joy.

She lamented that this is not exactly the case with the national public, which is why greater promotion and knowledge of this bastion of Cuban and world culture, demanded to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2003. .

The “Caridad de Oriente” is a living testimony to the Gallic influence in the southeast of the island, where the Santa Catalina de Riccis and Bejuco remain active, in the city of Guantánamo and in the rural area of ​​Sagua de Tánamo . , in Holguin, respectively.

Founded on February 24, 1862 under the name of Lafayette, it takes its current name from the homage it paid in 1905 to the Virgin of the Caridad del Cobre, patroness of Cuba.