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Abakuá - Abakwá - Abacuá - Ñáñigo - Carabalíes

Abakuá members derive their culture from the Efik and Efo of the Cross River region in Nigeria, which Cubans call Carabali.  They are organized in a set of over 150 potencias (lodges) located mainly in Havana, Matanzas, and Cardenas.

The people of Big Qua Town in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, Nigeria, are known as the Abakpa, the likely source for the name Abakuá. Big Qua Town is the home of the president of the Calabar Mgbe or Ékpè.

The Cuban Abakuá societies have a male-only membership, their Ékpè equivalent in the Cross River State are called lodges in English, they are fraternities. Both the Cuban and Nigerian lodges are Ékpè lodges. 

There is also in Cuba an Efo cultural manifestation organized along family lines, the Brikamo, carried by the Calle family in Matanzas.

In 2001, the Efik National Association in the US began to have contact with Cuban Abakuá. There is evidence of prior contacts between the Abakuá and the Efik in Cuba, but the contact has not until now been sustained. Among such evidence is a plaque hanging on the walls of a potencia in Havana given by an Obong, a traditional leader of the Efiks.

The Abakuá gave us the rumba, one of Cuba's principal musical traditions. The Calle family, for example, is of Efo origin and is said to have invented the guaguanco, a type of rumba.

 


(c) Copyright 2002 by Pedro Perez Sarduy

Abakuá procession, 19th century Havana


We can also note that the Carabali culture in Santiago (cabildos) and  in the center of Cuba is also derived from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.  The name Carabali is derived from the slave port of Calabar, as distinct from the Karabali people of the Niger Delta.

 

Efik National Association

Bibliography

Links


Esquina Habanera - Efik and Abakuá - 8/6/2001
: photo gallery

International Ekpe Festival, Calabar, Nigeria: December, 2004

Efiks of Cuba Write Obong of Calabar: We're coming home, Weekend Chronicle, Nigeria, 2/05

Cuban Abakuá Participate in the Ekpe Festival, December 19-26, 2004, Cross River State, Nigeria, 4/05

Nigerian Census: Igbo group protests exclusion of religion, ethnicity, 5/29/05

Roman Díaz y Omi Odara

 

Cuban Abakuá fueling a resurgence of traditional Ekpe culture in Cross River Delta, Nigeria - Statement by ‘Iberedem’ Fred Eno Essien, ‘Ukai’ of Ibibioland, and prominent Ekpe leader from Uruan, 1/08  Chief Ekpenyong Eyo Honesty Eyo II, reflects upon the impact that knowledge of Cubban Abakua is having upon Ekpe leaders of the Cross River region, 1/08  Chief Ekong Imona reflects upon the impact of the Cubans in Calabar, 2/08

Angel Guerrero: Abakuá from Pogolotti, 2/08

AfroColombian author, Stella Estrada, inspired by Abakuá, writes "Írimo",
9/07

2003 Encounter in Michigan: Cuban Abakuá and the Obong of Calabar
, 11/06 Angel Guerrero and Roman Diaz present Cuban Abakuá to the paramount ruler of the Efiks in the Cross River Delta, Nigeria., 11/06 Angel Guerrero and Roman Diaz present Cuban Abakuá to the paramount ruler of the Efiks in the Cross River Delta, Nigeria.

Etubom Bassey Ekpe Bassey on Ekpe and Cuban Culture, English and Español, Calabar, Nigeria, 8/06

See a new Efik site: www.eburutu.org

Etubom Asuquo Etim: Maskmaker, musician, 12/05

The Investiture of Lady Elizabeth Ayo Eremie into the Ekoretonko Lodge, Calabar, Nigeria, 9/05

Nigerian Efiks and Cuban Abakuá re-unite, 8/4/01

A Secret Society Goes Public: The Relationship Between Abakuá and  Cuban Popular Culture.” Ivor Miller, African Studies Review. vol. 43, no. 1 (April, 2000)

Andrés Petit: El hombre que vendió el secreto Abacuá, Muzio, María del Carmen,  Juventud Rebelde (25 agosto, 1996)

Homenaje for Ignacio Piñeiro in Jesus Maria, an Abakwá barrio in Havana

This was filmed in a documentary by an Italian company, out in June 2009

Left to right: El Goyo Hernandez,  Pedrito El Yuma, Frank Oropesa, bongocero for el Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineiro, El Negro Bonko de Ibonda, Palillo Bonko de Mutanga, Ismael Bonko de Ikanfioro. All are Abakwá musicians.

 

Bibliography
Thanks to Eoghan at University of Pennsylvania

El íreme Abakuá / Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez. Ciudad de La Habana :
Editorial Pueblo y Educación, c1996.

Ecorie Abakuá : cuatro ensayos sobre los ñáñigos cubanos / Tato Quiñones.
 [La Habana] : Ediciones Unión, 1994.

Abakuá : una secta secreta / selección de textos Adriana Pérez Pérez,
Norma García Cabrera. Ciudad Habana, Cuba : Publicigraf, 1993.

Afro-Cuban religious experience : cultural reflections in narrative /
Eugenio Matibag. Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c1996.

Como suena un tambor abakuá / Arturo Lino, Neira Betancourt. Ciudad de La
Habana: Editorial Pueblo y Educación, c1991.

AfroCuba : an anthology of Cuban writing on race, politics and culture /
edited by Pedro Perez Sarduy and Jean Stubbs. Center for Cuban Studies. 
Melbourne, Vic. : Ocean Press ; London : Latin American Bureau ; New York,
NY, USA : Distributed in the USA by the Talman Co., 1993.

The Afro-Hispanic Abakuá : a study of linguistic pidginization / by
Raphael A. Núñez-Cedeño, Roberto Nodal, [and] Rolando A. Alúm. Milwaukee :
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1982.

La Sociedad Abakuá y su poesía / Julio A. León and René León ; preface by
Antoine Oubari. Charlotte, N.C. : [s.n.], 1975.

The Abakuá language in Cuba : a glossary / compiled by Roberto Nodal.
[Milwaukee] : Dept. of Afro-American Studies, University of
Wisconsin--Milwaukee, 1976.

Linguistic folklore in the latin caribbean : a selected glossary of the
Abakuá language in Cuba / by  Roberto Nodal, Rolando A. Alum, Rafael
Núñez. [Milwaukee]: Department of Afro-American Studies, University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1977.

Links

On Abakuá rhythms
www.cse.ogi.edu/Drum/groove/abakua.html

Album des photos prises en parallèle au film "Jour des Rois, jour Abakua" le 6 janvier 2008 (jour des Rois) par Daniel Chatelain et José Antonio Betancourt.  picasaweb.google.com/ritmacuba/JourAbakua  - plenty good photos here!

ndiboyevengo.blogspot.com
N'dibo Yeve Ngo Blog

 

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