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Carol Steele leads group to study with AfroCuba de Matanzas 1/02

Contacting Carol for classes in Cuba

Carol presents Folklore in Matanzas,  March 25th - April 8th 2001

Carol Steele Bio

Classes in Havana and Matanzas: a report 5/00

Carol Steele leads groups to Havana and Matanzas for percussion & dance classes

Carol Steele is a noted percussionist who fell in love with AfroCuban music, went to Cuba, and played with some of the greats -- Los Muñequitos de Matanzas among them.   In her US based work, she has played live with Diana Ross, Angela Bofill, Tom Brown, Dave Valentin, Jaco Pastorius, Steve Winwood, Tears for Fears, Annie Lennox, Jeffrey Osborne, Vanessa Williams, Pino Danielle, Joan Baez, and Howard Jones. Here she describes one of the groups she lead to Cuba for percussion and dance classes:

Carol Steele leads group to study with AfroCuba de Matanzas 1/02

I'm happy to announce my next trip to Matanzas, Cuba, will be from January 19th until February 2nd - 2 weeks of study with AfroCuba de Matanzas. We will be studying once again, Folkloric Dance and Drumming with AfroCuba, for approximately 4 hours per day. Beginners and advanced students welcome! We will have many students returning from this years' spring trip, and some new friends that want to study AfroCuban Folklore with one of the top groups in Cuba. We will be studying Orisha dances (both Lukumi and Arara) and rumba extensively in the dance classes, and drumming styles, depending on the levels, encompass rumba, guaguanco,comparsa, Iyesa, Arara and bata for those interested.

We always have a good time, and there are many wonderful extra-curricular activities, from rumbas and toques de santo, to trips to see other groups play and perform.....possibly a trip to Havana, possibly a trip to Jovellanos or Cardenas, depending on who's around and performing at the time. This years' trip ended with an incredible boat ride up the Canimao River, with all of the participants and all of AfroCuba. We played bata on the way up and sang songs to Ochun, the Yoruba River Goddess, and played, sang and danced rumba on the way back! It was a wonderful way to end the trip......and I'm always dreaming up something wonderful for people to experience the beautiful AfroCuban Culture that has enriched my life so much, and for which I am so grateful!

So come along with us, and enjoy and learn with the masters!! The cost of the trip is $2150.00 USD. This includes round-trip airfare from Cancun, license, 2 weeks accommodations (double occupancy), breakfast and dinner, transportation to and from Matanzas from Havana, all classes, and most activities. (There may also be an option to travel from Miami at a slightly higher cost, and I'll have details about that soon.)

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Que viva la musica AfroCubana!!!!!!!

Contacting Carol for classes in Cuba

Future Plans, 3/01

Well, the excitement is building as we prepare to go to Matanzas for 2 weeks 
of study with Afro Cuba de Matanzas! I've got lots of activities planned, 
and this Spring Break trip is shaping up nicely, and everyone is getting 
excited about going.

I'm thinking about what's going to be next. While I'm there, I'm going to be 
working on some courses for the future. This is what's brewing here at 
Steelina Productions.

1. Late Summer course of study with the Conjunto Folklorico de Trinidad!!
Come and study in beautiful Trinidad, explore this crown jewel of Cuba's 
Colonial cities, while studying with the Folklorico there. We will 
also have the time to check out the neighboring cities of Cienfuegos and Sancti 
Spiritus, and maybe even tie in our studies with Carnival in Cienfuegos! 
More info to come.

2. Study rumba with Conjunto Clave y Guaguanco! This could be a great 
opportunity for some more advanced students of rumba to take their rumba to a 
whole new level, and give beginners a chance to learn from some of the 
greatest rumberos around. This course will be in Havana, and include lots of 
extracurricular rumba activities, and chances to see other great rumberos, as 
well as play.

3. Come and check out the Wemilere Festival in Guanabacoa! This would be a 
trip that will coincide with the Wemilere Festival, and be a chance for folks 
to see this incredible festival, that includes classes on AfroCuban music and 
dance, conferences, street performances and rumbas, performances of 
professional and nonprofessional folkloric dance groups, and special programs 
put on by the Fernando Ortiz Foundation on Folkloric Culture and history. 
This would be a great opportunity for those folks that are interested in 
AfroCuban Folklore that would like to study, and attend performances and 
conferences, and may not want to participate in a course that is as focused 
on dancing and drumming for the majority of the time, like most of the other 
courses are. 

4. Another program I'm looking into for later this year is a course of study 
of rumba in Matanzas for a week, and the second week experiencing the Oloyo 
Festival in Cardenas......a festival of lots of virtually unknown rumba and 
folkloric groups from the Matanzas/Cardenas/Jovellanos area!

5. Next year's 2002 AfroCuban Folkloric Study Course with Afro Cuba will be 
the last 2 weeks of January! As always, there will be 4-5 hours of classes 
in AfroCuban Folkloric drumming, dancing, and singing, along with lots of 
activities including rumbas, toques de Santo, and whatever might be happening 
in Matanzas at the time.

So, that's what's coming up for Steelina Productions for the rest of the 
year, and I'll have lots more information and dates when I get back from Cuba 
in April.

I'm also available to organize specific study trips for already existing 
groups of 10 or more, that have a particular thing in mind, like studying 
Bata drumming, Advanced Rumba, special focus on Orisha dancing and drumming, 
etc. You all know how I feel.......there's nothing like studying at the 

Viva la Musica AfroCubana !!!!!!!!! Ven Conmigo!!!!!!! Mucho 

Contact Carol at

Classes in Havana and Matanzas with Carol Steele, 5/20/00

The very first time I ever went to Cuba, in 1987, and I left the plane and my feet touched ground, I just started I had come home to a place of my heart. I had studied AfroCuban music for years.....collecting records, tapes, and books....doing my best to just pick out parts from the information that I could get.......and was finally going for the first time. It was a trip that changed my life, and I've been going back ever since.

"Food for my soul" is what I call my constant trips to Cuba, and the relationships that I've built there over the last 13 years have been some of the most profound and important in my life. Professionally, spiritually, and personally a professional percussionist for the past 25 years, knowing that when I have the time and the money, I can just go there and sing and play and dance to my heart's content, and come home full, ready to meet any challenge of any gig or tour or record date that I might have. It has given me a reference point to draw from when working with anyone from Peter Gabriel, to Steve Winwood, to Joan Baez, to Annie Lenox.....and on and on.up.gif (925 bytes)

After all of these years, I've become known to all of these people an avid advocate for Cuba and AfroCuban music. I started thinking about how I could share this passion with more people, and in another way than just thru my music. Last year, I connected with Jane Anderson of Caribbean Music and Dance and had a conversation with her about an idea I had. I wanted to lead one of their courses, and create it myself. A trip to Cuba like I would want to take myself, with people that I know and study with, and to do a trip that would give the experience of both the Havana style and the Matanzas style of playing rumba and folklore. Jane liked the idea, and that's how it all started....from a dream.

ENA (Escuela Nacional de Arte) in HavanaThis past January, I lead my first course and it was absolutely fantastic! I had 30 participants from around the United States, a combination of dancers, drummers and singers. I can't tell you the incredible joy I felt to look at their faces on the night of our first extra-curricular concert.........a small, private concert with the explosive Clave y Guaguanco! For me, that was the moment that I knew it was a success. We spent that first week in Havana, studying at the National School of Art (ENA). We had classes every day with dance instructors from the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional, and some of the top Folkloric drummers and singers from Havana teaching the drum and song classes. As I walked through the beautiful grounds of the ENA during the day, and heard the sounds of the drums wafting through the air, it just made my heart all mushy. I was able to organize an afternoon to see a rehearsal of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional, we had a very exciting Toque de Santo (Yoruba religious ceremony), the incredible show with Clave y Guaguanco, and there's always plenty of gigs, shows, rumbas, rehearsals that the participants were invited to.up.gif (925 bytes)

Carol and Luanda Pau of the Conjunto Folklorico

Carol with Luanda Pau

One of the most important things to me about going to the source to study, is to make a connection with the people personally, to spend time with them, eat with them, see how the music is a part of their lives. I really encourage the participants to get to know their teachers, go hang with them on their own, if the spirit moves's by doing all these things, along with the lessons, that feed the soul, and get you to play something different....just from the whole experience of it.

So, after a week in Havana, we headed to Matanzas and Varadero Beach. We had the classes in Varadero, at this beautiful park called the Parque Josone. We had dance classes in a room surrounded by windows, so that you can look out into the beautiful park grounds, and the drum classes (thanks to the weather) were held outside under the trees, in various locations.......and our instructors......the incredible AfroCuba de Matanzas!! And, what a week it was! Classes during the day included Matanzas style Rumba and Folklore, which included Arara rhythms, dances and song, and also Bembe, which was great because our extra-curricular Yoruba ceremony in Matanzas was a Bembe, with the special Bembe drums and very, very exciting. We got to see a performance of a great new group called Tongando Azucar.....who rehearse in the old dock-workers union hall, and perform at the docks were where the rumba began!

Afrocuba's Minini, Luis, and Pello in Matanzas

Afrocuba de Matanzas' Minini, Luis, and Pello

It was so wonderful to see the growth of the participants, under the loving care and guidance of my Cuban maestros. From Havana to Matanzas, and all of the different styles and techniques, I definitely saw growth in each and every person,........that's what it's all about to me.

This course went so well, that I think that next year we'll divide it into two courses. We'll go to Matanzas for 2 weeks in January, and do the Havana course sometime in March....during Spring break. I'm already dreaming up what else we could add and what other concerts and activities I we can have. With such a rich culture, and with such great teachers, the possibilities are endless. I invite everyone that has ever had the idea to go to Cuba and study........come with me, you won't be disappointed. I'm committed to the experience being as real, as exciting, and as "hands-on" informative as possible.
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Ven conmigo!!!!!! Viva La Musica AfroCubana!!!!!!!!!!

Contacting Carol for classes in Cuba

New classes are forming for January (1/21/01-2/3/01) and March 2001 (dates forthcoming).

Carol Steele presents Folklore in Matanzas,  March 25th - April 8th, 2001

Happy New Year Everyone!!!! Felicidades !!!!

I'm sure that many of you know by now, that Carribean Music and Dance is no longer in business. I have received a huge response to my article on AfroCubaWeb, and have a group of participants who were there with me in January that really want to go back. So, after giving this much consideration, and researching the possibilities of doing this on my own on a recent trip to Cuba, I'm going to continue this work. So, ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to tell you, that I will be offering a 2 week course over Spring Break ( March 25th - April 8th ) in Matanzas, studying with AfroCuba! 

The course take place in Matanzas, which is famous for its preservation of African culture, music, and dance. Our teachers will be Afro Cuba de Matanzas who's life work is all about that preservation. They are all very excited about the possibility of doing this work again, and I can say first hand, that they take great pride in their work, teaching, and seeing the students progression.

Styles that will be covered in both dance and percussion include all three styles of Rumba (Yambu, Guaguanco, and Columbia), playing and dancing for the Orishas, (including rhythmically, Bata, Guiro, Bembe, and Iyesa), Arara, the trio of Congo styles (Palo, Makuta, and Yuka), and the rhythm of 
Carnaval....Conga de Comparsa.

Classes will be given from Monday thru Friday for 5 hours a day. One class will be offered daily on songs for each of the different styles as well. As always, I'm planning on supplementig the classes with some great activities, performances of various groups, and seminars with elders there in the community, visits to various artists homes, inviting some groups from Havana like Clave y Guaguanco to come and do a performance, and, depending on what also may just be going on there in Matanzas on the spur of the moment, such as rumbas, toques de Santo, Arara ceremonies, etc. 

PRICE : $2150.00 

This package includes round trip airfare from Cancun/Havana, U.S. Treasury Department license, all classes and course related activities, group transport from/to the airport, accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily, and selected special group activities and events. Prices are based on double occupancy, as available. Cuba visa expenses are not included in the package prices.

Please email me, or call me at 212/969-8632, to reserve your space, and start the registration process. I look forward to making your trip an  experience that you'll never forget.


Carol Steele

Contacting AfroCubaWeb

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