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The Villamil Family

The Villamil family are among the most famous folkloric families in Matanzas. Most of the members of Afrocuba de Matanzas are Villamil, for example. Other family members play in such groups as the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional, Rumba y Son, and los Muñequitos de Matanzas.  In the words of Danilito Perez, who as Omo Elegba and Tata Nganga represents both the Yoruba and the Congo side of the family:  "I was born to a family completely full of folkloric traditions and AfroCuban customs, the Villamil family, from which come the greater part of the rumbero singers, percussionists, and dancers in the province of Matanzas."

We present here a chart of the family relationships as you will find the names it contains on numerous pages in this site. The two family founders were Ñobla Cardenas, babalawo, Omo Oggun, and musician from Oyo, the old imperial capital of Yorubaland, and Mauricio Piloto, another musician from Oyo.  They were kidnapped and brought over to Matanzas in the 1880's.  Either Ñobla Cardenas or Mauricio Piloto married a Congo woman, who must have come from a strong Congo family as the Congo lineage has remained strong among the Villamil.

The Villamil have a family cabildo, Santa Teresa, and the music group for the cabildo’s bembe is called Omo Laye, sons of the earth. The cabildo is located on Matanzas St., e/ Salamanca y Santa Isabel in Matanzas at the house of the recently deceased elder of the family, Tomasa Villamil.

Originally, the Villamil were all Omo Oggun in the first generation coming from Yorubaland, as is the custom over there, where people have just one orisha, typically by family.  They changed as they settled into Cuba, where the custom is to have multiple orishas.

Ñobla Cardenas, a babalawo and Omo Oggun who came from Oyo, capital of the Yoruba Empire.

Mauricio Piloto, a musician who also came from Oyo.

Juan Villamil, son of Mauricio Piloto, married Tomasa Cardenas,
daughter of Ñobla Cardenas

  Alfred Villamil Cardenas
   Julia Gonzalez Villamil married Felix Tapanez
     Pedro Pablo "Pello" Tapanez Gonzalez, founder of the cabildo
           Zarabanda Briyumba Congo, percussionist, 
           founder of Afrocuba de Matanzas

  Edubije Villamil, daughter of Juan
   Armando Matinez Villamil

  Vasilio Villamil(Chango Dele), son of Juan
   Fernando Villamil

  Regina Villamil, daughter of Juan
   Osvaldo
   Carmita (omo Obatala)
   Cukita

  Augustina "Tinita" Villamil, daughter of Juan married Francisco Herrera
     ("Pancho Camaján")
   Juana Herrera Villamil
    Jesús Gonzalez Herrera
    Daniel Elias Alfonso Herrera (master percussionist, teacher)
      Oldani Alfonso Isquierdo (percussionist, Rumba Caliente)

   Sara "Mima" Herrera Villamil(Afrocuba, wife of Francisco Zamora,
                                 director, Afrocuba)
   Elias Villamil Cardenas(he didn’t take his father’s name)
   Reynaldo "Naldo" Gove (Afrocuba)
    Juan Carlos Gove (Afrocuba)
   Israel Gove Villamil
   Sara (Mima) Gove Villamil (singer, dancer with Afro Cuba
         married to Francisco "Minini" Zamora Chirino)
   Olga Gove Villamil (only true child of Octavio Gove Tuscano,
     Tinita’s 2nd husband - the rest just took his name)
   Eugenio Herrera Villamil
   Dulce Maria Herrera Villamil married Pedro Morales
    Lazara Morales Villamil
      Luis (Luisito) Cansino Morales (percussionist with Los Muñequitos, 
            formerly with Afro Cuba de Matanzas)
   Lazaro Herrera Villamil

   Laudelina Herrera Villamil married Filomena Perez Domínguez
    Ana Perez (singer, los Muñequitos, omo Babaluaye) married 
             Cipriano Nilo García Alfonso
           Luis Enriques Garcia Perez (percussionist, Rumba Son, omo Obatala)
     Ramón García (Sandy) Perez (percussionist, was with Afro Cuba
         now  in US, omo Oya)
     Jurien García Perez (percussionist, singer, dancer, was with 
         Los Muñequitos, now with Afro Cuba)
     Yasmani Alfonso Perez (son of Ana and Jesus Alfonso Miró, 
         percussionist (quinto) with Los Muñequitos)
         singer, dancer, percussionist since age 3
     Yurien (Obba Ile, Varadero)

    Danilo Perez Herrera (percussionist, quinto, Muñequitos)
      Danilito Perez Fernandez (formerly of Afrocuba, 
            now choreographer for los Reyes del Tambor)
    Maria Dolores (Dolores) Perez Herrera (singer, Afro Cuba)
      Omara (translates, teaches English)
    Dolores Regla (Paula) Perez Herrera (dancer with Afrocuba, omo Ochun,
                married Israel Berriel)
      Israel (Puchito) Beriel Perez 
           (percussionist with Afro Cuba de Matanzas, omo Elegua)
    Teresa Perez Gonzalez
     Teresa (Teresita) Dome Perez (dancer, singer, was with Afro Cuba,
           now in the US)
     Odali Fuente
   
  Tomasa Villamil, born in 1901 (recently deceased at age 97, 
    daughter of Juan, 4 descendants in Rumba y Son) married Bernino García
   Beba
    Teresa Pollero Noriega (Conjunto Foklorico)
    Claridad
   Felipe Garcia Villamil (founder of Emi Keke, now in New York,
                           where he teaches and plays)      
   Betina García Villamil (singer, Afro Cuba)

This is derived from information given by Danilito Perez (father and son), Dolores Perez, Pello Tapanez, Paula Perez, and Mima Herrera Villamil. 



Anyone going to Matanzas, please print this out, get confirmation of the above (there are loose ends and mistakes), and see if you can flesh it out some.  Of special interest are the elders and what they remember of the founders, including their Congo lineage.

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