Bata Around Britain
This is The Axis playing Cuban batá drums outside of Rubber Biscuit on the 28th May 2012. The rhythm (toque) being played is called Elunbanche, which is played to accompany the song 'Bara súwà yo' for the Orisha Elegguá also known as Èṣù and Elégbára .
This is a video of The Axis Percussion Trio playing the toque for Eleggua from The Oru Seco. It was a lovely day on Richard's birthday so The Axis headed down to the cross roads to play this toque for Eleggua. It was filmed on a single Canon EOS 550D and we filmed multiple passes of the same rhythm which we then synced up at editing. We've had a few problems maintaining syncing video with audio after upload so any comments related to how to avoid this would be welcome. Editing using final cut pro X. The Audio on this video is best listened to through full range speakers to properly hear the bottom end of the sound!
This is a film of The Axis playing a Batá toque for Ogún. Ogún is the Orisha of metal, technology and the forward march of progress. He is represented by the machete and the tools of the blacksmith and is often associated with railway lines. His machete clears the path for man's advancement. The Axis filmed this toque at Kev's workshop just off Carlton Road in Nottingham. Kev has helped many musicians keep going over the years, fixing instruments, re welding vehicles, converting vans into band wagons, fixing drums and providing art work for cover illustrations. He even sorted out new tuning lugs for the set of Batá that we are playing here in this video. What better place to film this toque and what better man to feature in it?!
This is a film of The Axis playing a toque for Ochosi. Ochosi is the Orisha of the hunt, a warrior symbolised by a metal bow and arrow. As we all live in Nottingham the biggest metal bow and arrow that we had to hand was that belonging to Robin Hood. We packed the drums into the van and headed down to Nottingham Castle where we set up in front of his statue.
This is the Axis playing a Toque for the Orisha Obaloke. The Axis are playing this toque at Curbar Edge in Derbyshire.
The Axis can be seen here playing a toque for Inle, the orisha of fishermen and hunters who resides where the river meets the ocean. We filmed this at Attenborough Nature Reserve near Beeston, Nottingham - Not quite where the river meets the ocean but the best we could do on that day...
Babaluaye 1 at Burton Lazars
This is a film of The Axis Percussion Trio playing the first toque for Babaluaye from the Oru Seco. Babaluaye, the orisha syncretised with San Lazaro is the orisha that is called on in the hope of being cured from disease. He is traditionally associated with disease of leprosy. The Axis Trio journeyed to Burton Lazars in Leicestershire where there exists the earth work remains of an old leper hospital dedicated to Saint Lazarus. Two toques for Babaluaye were filmed here. It was a freezing cold day with bitter winds but the mighty Harry Stephenson still accompanied the trio in order to cool the earth still further by pouring water on the ground as is traditional in ceremonies in Cuba.
Babaluaye 2 Burton Lazars
This toque Filmed by The Axis Trio is for Babaluaye, the orisha syncretised with San Lazaro. Babaluaye is the orisha that is venerated in the hope of being cured from disease and is traditionally associated with the disease leprosy. For this reason The Axis journeyed to Burton Lazars in Leicestershire where there exists the earth work remains of an old leper hospital dedicated to Saint Lazarus. The Axis were joined on this cold morning in November by the legendary Harry Stephenson from The Last Pedestrians. He volunteered to come and cool the earth even more by pouring water on the ground as is customary in Cuba when toques for Babaluaye are played.
The snow came and covered Nottingham in white so The Axis wasted no time in getting in amongst it to play a batá toque for the orisha Obatalá whose colour is white, reflecting his spiritual purity and the coolness of his energy. Obatalá is said to be the oldest of the orishas, father to many of the orishas and the orisha charged with creating human beings. He is associated with justice, calm and logical thought. The significance of the colour white is that it protects it protects it's wearer from misfortune. It is hoped that the protective effect of the snow will have been amplified by this toque played to Obatalá. There is a good description of Obatalá here: http://santeriachurch.org/the-orishas/obatala/
This toque for Ochún was filmed in The Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire. You can see Belvoir Castle in the background.
This toque is used to accompany songs for Ochún
On Monday 18th May 2015 The Axis Percussion Trio were joined by Daniela De Armas from the London Lucumi Choir on a trip out to The Weleda Medicinal Herb Garden near Ilkeston in Derbyshire. There they played batá and sang songs Osain, the Orisha of herbal and plant based healing. Weleda are a German company who make natural remedies and cosmetics out of biodynamically grown organic crops. All of the herbs in this garden are grown with consideration given to all of the natural forces that will facilitate healthy plant growth, even down to lunar and planetary cycles. We'd been looking for a place to play for Osain for ages. Our friend Beth suggested the Weleda garden but we assumed that it's status as a 'big corporation' would mean they wouldn't be interested in hosting us but this couldn't have been further from the truth. Claire, the head gardener welcomed us whole heartedly and brought out her whole team for a listen to what we were up to. It was great to find such an enlightened approach to cultivation being exemplified by such a large company who employ such friendly and enthusiastic staff. Thanks to everyone at Weleda for making it such an enjoyable experience and thanks to Daniela for making the journey all the way from London specifically to sing to Osain in this amazing garden.
Chaguito and The Axis - Song for Ochún
In August 2015 Chaguito made the journey to Nottingham to meet up with Rich, Dave and Simon from The Axis Percussion Trio. He had come to The UK from Havana to work with Christian Weaver and La Timbala as part of a residency up in Manchester. When he got to Nottingham it seemed the natural thing to do to invite Chaguito to film an instalment of the Bata Around Britain series with us. We went down to the River Trent by the weir at The Beeston Marina and Chaguito sang this song for Ochún. Ochún is the female Orisha associated with rivers and the sweet things of life. Her colour is yellow.