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The Scholar and the Collector: Fernando Ortiz, Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, and The Howard Family Collection of Percussion Instruments, 7/17

Miscelánea II -- studies dedicated to Fernando Ortiz - press release

Fernando Ortiz: founder of AfroCuban Studies

Fernando Ortiz was the first person to write using the term "afrocubano".  He was a prolific writer on many aspects of African Cuban culture but has very little of his writings in English, with the exceptions noted in his bibliography and a new book of studies on Ortiz which includes a biography in English and French and a complete bibliography: Miscelánea II.   This is a very well made book, worth getting, and the product of a NY - Havana collaboration we need to see more of.  If you read Spanish, get Ortiz's other books!  Many are readily available from Ediciones Universales.

Fundacion Ortiz, la Havana

El Centro Cultural Africano "Fernando Ortiz", Santiago

Libros Gratis/Free Books


More Bibliography from Fernando Ortiz' daughter

Libros Gratis/Free Books

Hampa afro-cubana: Los negros brujos (apuntes para un estudio de etnología criminal).

Glosario de Afronegrismo, 1924


Cuban Counterpoint:  Tobacco and Sugar, Duke University Press, 1995. Quite well done with an interesting new, postmodern preface. In English.
Paperback, ISBN 0-8223-1616-1
Los Negros Brujos  Ediciones Universales, en Español
Paperback (November 1998) ISBN: 0897290534
La Africania De La Musica Folklorica De Cuba, 1950, Ediciones Universales, en español
Hardcover illustrated edition. ISBN: 8489750181 
Los Instrumentos de la Musica Afrocubana, 1952 (2 Volume Set)
en español, Ediciones Universal; ISBN: 8486415829  

A note from María Fernanda Ortiz Herrera on Ortiz books available in the USup.gif (925 bytes)

Dear Sir:

In order to update the Fernando Ortiz bibliography information you show on your web page, I would like to inform you that the same  Ediciones Universal [see Ediciones Universal's page on AfroCubaWeb] P.O. Box 450353 (Shenandoah Station), Miami. FL. 33245-0353 e-mail:, has new editions of the following works of my father, Fernando Ortiz:

Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, (new edition in 2 volumes), Música Mundana, Madrid, 1996 ISBN 8486415837 and 8486415845.

Los Bailes y el Teatro de Los Negros en el Folklore de Cuba, Música Mundana, Madrid, 1998, ISBN 8489750211.

La Africanía de la Música Folklórica de Cuba, Música Mundana, Madrid, 1998, ISBN 8489750181.

Los Negros Brujos , 1973, ISBN 0897290534

Contrapunteo Cubano del Tabaco y el Azúcar, EditoCubaEspaña, Madrid, 1999, ISBN 8489750203. This is a revised edition based on the notes the author had made on a book, of a previous edition of the Contrapunteo, and has an appendix, at the end, with facsimiles of the author´s notes.This new edition also shows corrections on the figures, which had been misidentified in other previous editions, that appeared after 1963. It is written in Spanish and it is a much more complete edition than any of the ones that have appeared in English.

The new editions have all the figures of the original books. They are all in Spanish, the author´s language, but for people interested in these subjects, I think they are easily followed.

I´m dedicated to the diffusion and re-editions of my father´s work. I would appreciate if you would add them to your list. If you have any doubts, please let me know.


María Fernanda Ortiz Herrera

The Scholar and the Collector: Fernando Ortiz, Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, and The Howard Family Collection of Percussion Instrumentsup.gif (925 bytes)

July 17, 2000:     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For publication information, contact:
Jane Gregory Rubin
Director, InterAmericas
500 5th Avenue
Suite 2222
New York, NY 10110

T 212 768 4994
F 212 768 4998
M 917 514 2475

Email: [replace _AT_ with @]

Interamericas releases bilingual publication celebrating musical traditions of africa and the caribbean, documented by renowned Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz and featuring works from the collection of Dr. And Mrs. Joseph H. Howard

Catalogue containing essay on Afro-Cuban music by Antonio Benítez-Rojo commemorates the exhibition, "The Scholar and the Collector: Fernando Ortiz, Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, and The Howard Family Collection of Percussion Instruments," at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum

NEW YORK, June 21 - Making a further addition to the growing body of scholarship on the work of Cuban historian and social scientist Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969) and to the study of Afro-Cuban musical traditions, InterAmericas"/Society of Arts and Letters of the Americas/Sociedad de Artes y Letras de las Américas announces the publication of The Scholar and the Collector: Fernando Ortiz, Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, and The Howard Family Collection of Percussion Instruments. The bilingual publication in English and Spanish commemorates an exhibition of the same name held at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM), May 28-September 26, 1999.

In an expanded form, the exhibition, now titled "Ritmos de Identidad: The Legacy of Fernando Ortiz and The Howard Family Collection," is currently on view at the Smithsonian Institution in the Arts and Industries Building, where it is scheduled to run until August 1, 2000. The exhibit, in its current form, will open at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida in Miami in September 2000.

The CAFAM exhibition presented the work of the Cuban scholar Ortiz, who documented African influences on the musical traditions of Cuba, and instruments from Cuba, Africa and the Caribbean on loan from the renowned Howard Family Collection of international percussion and folk instruments, assembled by Dr. Joseph H. Howard (1912-1994) and his wife, Bootsie Howard (1921-1985).

Central to the content of The Scholar and the Collector and the new scholarship on music in the Americas is the featured essay by Antonio Benítez-Rojo, the Cuban-born writer and contemporary theorist of Caribbean culture, entitled "The Polyrhythmic Imagination." Both academic and lyrical, the text discusses the profound contribution of Africa to the cultures of Cuba and the Caribbean region. Benítez-Rojo also discusses the pivotal nature of the vast body of work of Fernando Ortiz, whose five-volume study, Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, became "the chronicle of the nation." Finally, the author talks about how Ortiz's scholarship finds its complement in the Howard Family Collection extolled by Benítez-Rojo as "magnificent."

Further texts describe the parallel histories of the two men. The first discusses the formation of the Howard Family Collection: the passion of Dr. Howard, his wife, and his family, who devoted decades to the assiduous collection and cataloguing of more than 700 musical, largely percussion, instruments from around the world. The second offers a short biography of Fernando Ortiz, in his career as attorney, writer, anthropologist, and ethnographer.

The catalogue includes a selection of photographs by John Kiffe, in the nature of documentary portraits, of selected instruments from the Howard Family Collection, accompanied by excerpts from Fernando Ortiz's Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana describing the significance and/or usage of particular instruments. A "Foreword" by Adolfo V. Nodal, General Manager, Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles describes the Cuban influence on the arts and culture of Los Angeles. And an "Introduction" by Jane Gregory Rubin, InterAmericas Director, explains the methodology of curatorship, first in the CAFAM exhibition, which was the first to underscore the importance of the Ortiz documentation to an international collection; and second in InterAmericas' involvement with the legacy of Ortiz, which involves years of exhibitions, publications, and archival projects, including its 1998 publication of Miscelánea II of Studies Dedicated to Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969). Miscelánea II unites new and previously published material in Spanish, English, and French on the life and work of Ortiz and features a comprehensive updated bibliography of works by Ortiz, his unpublished manuscripts, and secondary literature.

For information on the Dr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Howard Family Collection, contact:
Victoria R. Howard
Tel/Fax: (323) 732-6284
P.O. Box 360411
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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