Pancho Quinto is a legendary figure in Cuban music, an innovator and pioneer pushing the limits and boundaries of percussion. In this recording Pancho changes the rules, by shifting between rumba, batá, abakuá, and iyesá rhythms, and effortlessly creating a pastiche of Afro-Cuban music that digs deep into the traditions and collective memory of Cuban culture.
The group Pancho brought together for this recording was directed by Octavio Rodríguez, master drummer, babalawo, and innovator in the fusion of Afro-Cuban drumming with jazz and rock. Octavio’s percussion arrangements shift from one rhythm to another, from prayers to the orishas to rumbas, crossing back and forth across the clave. [At the same time this] recording provides the listener to hear the dynamic sound of a rumba as it is played in neighborhood gatherings and sung in the patios…of Old Havana and the shipyards.
Pancho Quinto grew up in Old Havana’s barrio of Belén, and worked on the docks. He began playing with the great Olú-batá Jesús Pérez, and became an Olú-batá himself. His broad and deep musical experience spanned participation in Havana’s noted carnival groups, local Rumbas, Ocha, Palo, and Abakuá ceremonies, and the popular La Sonora Matancera. He was a founding performer of the National Folklore Group of Cuba (Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba) and of the now world-renowned Grupo Yoruba Andabo.