Singing for The Orishas 2013 - 2015

The Axis Percussion Trio secured funding from Arts Council England through Grants for The Arts to run a series of 12 Afro Cuban singing workshops with Daniela De Armas from The London Lucumi Choir in Nottingham: 

The sessions taught Afro Cuban songs from the tradition of Santeria as practiced in Cuba. Singing for the Orishas is at the heart of many Cuban musical traditions. The percussive accompaniment of these songs in all its forms is at the root of all popular Cuban music from Rumba to Salsa to Timba. The songs are beautifully melodic, rhythmic and uplifting. Live batá drumming will accompany all of the singing.

The workshops were open to everyone regardless of experience and ability, with a focus on giving everyone the chance to join in, learn and enjoy singing together.  The 12 sessions culminated in a group performance to celebrate the launch of an Afro Cuban Community Choir in Nottingham in Februrary 2016. 

Song sequences for Orishas were taught and accompanied by live batá drums. Teaching was by ear for the most part and involved harmony singing. These sessions were a great chance for singers to increase their repertoire, for percussionists to learn the songs that their rhythms exist to accompany and for everyone with an interest in singing to come and experience the joy and exhilaration that participating in this music can create.


All the sessions were on Sundays between 1pm and 4pm on the following dates:

7th September 2014     

5th October 2014       

9th November 2014      

25th January 2015

8th February 2015

8th March 2015

10th May 2015

14th June 2015

12th July 2015

13th September 2015

11th October 2015

8th November 2015

The final performance was on 13th February 2016


The New Art Exchange

39 - 41 Gregory Blvd,



The Axis Trio is very greatful to The New Art Exchange in Hyson Green, Nottingham where the sessions were be held. 

Unfortunately there was not the opportunity to learn batá in these sessions, as the focus was on the songs. Learning the songs accompanied by the batá does give you the opprtunity to get the rhtyhms in your ears and to internalise the songs and the rhythms together.  If you are interested in learning batá drums please contact The Axis Percussion Trio

For more information please contact Richard Kensington on

07957 209 930

Back Story

The Axis Trio ran three 'Singing For The Orishas' sessions with Daniela De Armas, leader of The London Lucumi Choir from 2013 to 2014. The idea was to build links between musicians involved in Afro Cuban Music in London and in Nottingham and to develop knowledge, interest and enthusiasm for Afro Cuban music in Nottingham. The last session took place on Sunday 13th April 2014.

The sessions were well attended and enthusiastically recieved by all those who came along.  Feedback from the sessions was very positive and it was decided that sessions should happen more regularly and be more accessible. 

“I’ve been hoping something like this would happen locally for years. Thanks for having the vision and making it happen” 

"Well, it was a spectacular day! Wonderful songs, great teacher - easy flow, informative, enthusiastic and generous! Wonderful percussion, seamless. Atmosphere was concentrated but relaxed, it felt easy to take risks and make mistakes!"

"Many thanks for sending these recordings, Richard. And to you and The Axis for beautiful drumming and for organisation of today. I enjoyed it very much, and it was well worth the 3+ hour journey each way."

Sessions were run on sundays, every three months from 1pm until 4 pm and did cost £20 per person or £15 for students and people who are unwaged. Thanks to grant funding from Arts Council England we have been able to reduce the cost significantly. 

For those of you who missed the session on April 13th 2014 here is a link to a sound recording of the material covered in the session courtesy of Jim Farey...


The time lapses below show a couple of hours from the first two workshops (29th September 2013 and 19th January 2014) condensed into a few seconds with an excerpt of audio from the sessions.



Find out more about Daniela and The London Lucumi Choir here:

and here:

For more information please email