bata

Ancient Text Messages: Batá Drums in a Changing World

In Africa, drums don’t only play rhythms, they send messages. “Ancient Text Messages: Batá Drums in a Changing World” explores an endangered tradition of drum speech in Nigeria, and how that tradition changed and thrived in Cuba, where large numbers of enslaved Yoruba arrived in the 19th century. Producer Ned Sublette speaks with ethnomusicologist Amanda Villepastour, language technician Tunde Adegbola, and drummer Kenneth Schweitzer about how language and music overlap.