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SEXTETO TABALA- Reyes del Son Palenquero

by Sexteto Tabala

Agua 04:37
Intro 00:38
Triguenita 04:48
intro 00:37
Manuela 04:21
El Palomo 04:54
Intro 00:36
Ofelia 04:48
Intro 00:29
Intro 00:38


El Sexteto Tabalá

A new rhythm has appeared on the Colombian Atlantic coast, along the Caribbean Sea: the sexteto, an offspring of the Cuban son and the cumbia, the latter, sprung from the triple root of Colombian culture –African, European and indigenous– being already hybrid music itself.

The Sexteto Tabalá originates from Palenque de San Basilio, the famous village which was founded by fugitive slaves some forty-three miles away from Cartagena and one of the main centres of Black resistance to slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries. This sexteto plays a “raw” and warm type of son in which deep, ancient-sounding percussion instruments accompany the tenor voices of Palenque farm workers. These men are heirs to a long identity-building process, from the time of runaway slaves and rebellion against the Spaniards; this is the source from which their interpretation of the “son palenquero” draws its authenticity.

The Palenques
In colonial times, most of the slaves who were brought to South America transited through Cartagena. There, on the harbour market, people of more than thirty African nationalities were sold to the Spanish colonists who were then building New Grenade.
In Colombia, the African slaves were sent to the plantations and gold mines on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Colonial society, whose power was based on highly organised structure and lay in the hands of the Church and aristocracy, built its economy on large-scale exploitation of servile manpower, both African and indigenous.

In Cartagena, the Mandinga, Carabalí, Mina, Congo and Arará slaves were organised into cabildos together. They worked as builders on the walls and castles of the colonial town. During Carnival, the king and queen of each cabildo were allowed to parade with their retinues of masked dancers and musicians. These processions were banned in 1780 though, as they had become a threat to the city.
As early as the 16th century, frequent slave rebellions took place on the Caribbean coast. The fugitives sought refuge in inhospitable and inaccessible zones, such as wetlands and jungles, where they founded scores of palenques, or runaway communities.
The most important uprising was led at the beginning of the 17th century by Benkos Bioho, previous king of an African tribe. About a hundred Black fugitives fled into the Maria mountains and created the palenque of San Basilio, of which Bioho proclaimed himself king. They were fearsome warriors, and for a long time stood up to the Spanish colonial army, until a decree from the King of Spain granted them autonomy in 1713. San Basilio thus became the first free Black village in Latin America.

Between 1603 and 1799, thousands of Bioho's partisans hanged: both the Creoles and the Spaniards were terrified by this “arquebus king” and his offspring, to the point where the importation from Guinea-Bissau of Bijago slaves, the ethnic group to which Bioho belonged, was banned. The story of Bioho was later used by Spanish chroniclers, who turned it into a fabulous tale, blending features of European romanticism and an idealised vision of Africa: the myth of Benkos Bioho, symbol of the fight of tens of Colombian palenques, was born.
In the same tradition, Palenque de San Basilio was to become famous on both the national and international stage thanks to its boxers, especially Kid Pambelé, who triumphed as Lightweight World Champion in 1974.
Today, Palenque of San Basilio is the only village amongst those ancient fugitive communities which has resisted against time and external influences, keeping alive its palenquero language, a type of Creole which is derived from Bantu (Congo-Angola).

The “Son palenquero”
The Colombian coast of the Atlantic has been the cradle of a wide-ranging musical culture, the result of constant exchanges between Indians, Africans and European colonists which are still fruitful today. The most widely spread musical genres are the cumbia and the vallenato, accordion music from the Valle de Upar (see: Colombie, Le vallenato, Ocora C 560093). In addition to these, many rhythms were brought in from Africa and “reinvented” in the palenques: bullerengue, mapalé, chandé, baile de muerto, chalupa…
Palenque de San Basilio remained totally isolated until the beginning of the 20th century, when North American investors acquired concessions to grow sugarcane in the region of Sincerin, a short distance from the village. Black people from Palenque were then hired in the plantations of “Central Colombia”, a sugar-producing complex under Cuban technical supervision. In their free time, the Cuban engineers would play the music which was most fashionable in Cuba at the time: the “son montuno”, then played by sexteto groups at the height of their glory in Santiago de Cuba. The sugarcane workers soon fell in love with this music and learned to play it.
The son which had been taken up by the Cuban sexteto groups was hybrid rural music, born from African and European influences in the province of Oriente. One of the most popular sextetos of the 1920s was the Sexteto Habanero, with its excellent singer and pregonero de oro Abelardo Barroso. There were also the Sexteto Boloña, the Boton de Rosa and the Sexteto Occidente, whose singer Miguelito Valdez, was especially remembered by the Palenque musicians. These sexteto groups and the son swept through La Habana and the whole Caribbean, overruning the old danzon.

The typical instruments of the Cuban sextetos were the guitar, the tres, the claves, the bongos, the maracas and the marímbula –the latter a sort of contrabass, of African origin, made of wood and metal. This association was modified at the beginning of the 1930s with the arrival of the septeto, to which a trumped had been added.

The sexteto fever broke out in Palenque almost at the same time as in Cuba –which was remarkable at a time when there was hardly any radio, and the means of diffusion of music were fairly limited. As a matter of fact, Cuban music spread almost exclusively through contact with the engineers of “Central Colombia”, and very little through records.
The first sexteto palenquero group appeared in the Barrio Arriba, and was formed by a handful of sugar workers. It is known by certains as the Sexteto Matentera, and was founded by Eusiquio Arrieta, Martin “hombron” Cassiani and Pantaleon Salgado a “Central Colombia” worker and one of the first son palenquero composers who had learnt to play the marímbula from the Cubans. Pantaleon Salgado belonged to the Batata dynasty, the family ruling the Cabildo Lumbalú in Palenque, where the village elders gathered for the Lumbalú ritual (funerary songs for the deceased).
«The adequacy between palenquera music and the world beyond is best expressed in the context of funerary rites.»1 In this ritual, the old women of the Cabildo beat drums and sing their lamentos during the nine days of mourning which follow the death of palenquero: a soloist introduces the phrase which is repeated throughout the wake, then the others all take it up in chorus in a kind of vocal polyphony which is backed by the beat of two drums, the pechiche and the yamaró (llamador).
The aim of the lumbalú or canto-lloro songs, and baile de muerto dances or bullerengues is for the palenqueros to invoke African divinities from the Congo-Angola pantheon, such as Zambi or Kalunga (supreme god, representing Death), Lemba (goddess of Fertility, Orisha of Creation), thus “helping the deceased to leave this world contentedly and peacefully”.
These songs, which have been handed down by oral tradition throughout centuries of resistance to slavery, bear witness to the origins of most of the community: the region of Luango, in Angola.

I'm from Congo / I'm from Angola / I'm from Luango Angola / My name is Juan Gungù / Juan Gungù I have to be called. [See Colombian version on page 4]

Ever since its creation, the Sexteto Matentera had been part of the Cabildo and has accompanied them on the occasion of village funerals and other important events (festival of San Basilio, Holy Week…). Sometimes, the bullerengue group of the Cabildo and the Sexteto Matentera even played together; this unique contact between Cuban son and African-Colombian ritual music was crucial in the later development of the son palenquero. In fact, it is peculiar to the sexteto palenquero that it has been included in the magical and religious context of palenquera music right from the start.

In the early 1930s, a second group appeared, the Sexteto Habanero (named after the famous Sexteto Habanero from La Habana), which was formed by peasants from the Barrio Abajo. One of its most popular primo (the Creole name for Palenque “singers”), Manuel Valdez “Cho Maney”, remembers: « Cuando se moria cualquier persona, en el pueblo buscaban a esos dos grupos pa tocar ahi, a la hora del entierro, nosotros teniamos sus sones especiales para el entierro, para cada parte de la procesion. Incluso una vez, cuando se murio el difunto Mecino, un tipo palenquero que vivia en Barranquilla, pero el vino a morir a su pueblo ! Pidio los dos sextetos. El uno iba cantando alante y el otro cantaba atras. »
«When someone died, the village would bring in one of the two sextetos to play during the funeral, as we had special sones for each moment of the procession. Once, a palenquero named Mecino, who lived in Barranquilla, sensing that death was near, came back to his village and required both sextetos to play, one at the head of the procession, and the other one at the rear».
On the last day of mourning, the women sing about the life of the deceased and act out scenes from it; if he was a fishmonger, for example, they imitate his way of shouting and selling his fish, etc.

At the height of their glory, the Sexteto Matentera (from the Barrio Arriba) and the Sexteto Habanero (from the Barrio Abajo) used to meet on the village square and compete in legendary piquerias where the best singers and marimbuleros improvised their own verses. Palenque musical dynasties would thus demonstrate their skills in front of other sextetos neighbouring villages. The contest could continue for several years in a row, and sometimes ended with the bankrupt losers having to sell of their instruments.
The music of these first sextetos often varied according to the instruments which were to hand. When members of the group went off to seek employment on the great landowners' large farms, they would bring back new songs, which they had composed during their working day in the fields. Most Sexteto Tabalá compositions, even today, are derived from this type of working songs.

Both sextetos played in Palenque for about twenty years, before disappearing during the 1950s and 60s, when “Central Colombia” suger mill closed down. The sexteteros then emigrated from their village to larger cities such as Barranquilla and Cartagena, or to Venezuela. With the closing-down of “Central Colombia”, a whole chapter in the history of the “son palenquero” vanished forever, as no recording had been kept from that time.

The Cuban son did not only root itself in Palenque, it also travelled down the Magdalena river to the south of the country, thanks to the palenqueros who migrated there in search of employment, transmitting the son disease –not forgetting the marímbula, which has since been widely diffused. Today, sexteto groups can be found all the way along the Atlantic coast as well as in several other regions. All play the same instruments: clave, percussions and marímbula.

Sexteto music remains little known in Colombia though, as it developped in the Black communities and palenques of the Atlantic coast, away from the musical industry. To this day, no record by a rural sexteto group has been produced.

The Musical Instruments
The sexteto palenquero use the same instruments as the Cuban bands: drums, maracas, claves and marímbula. They discarded the guitar because it was too costly, and also, perhaps, as it had never been part of Palenque musical tradition; they added the güiro or guacharaca (a scraper of Indian origin which was later also used in Cuba), the Colombian maracas, and traditional drums, of which the timba.

The clave is an idiophone which consists of two cylindrical sticks; the smaller is considered to be “female” and the longueur “male”. The first is held in the palm of the left hand, which acts as a resonator, and is struck in the middle, on an invariable beat, by the second, which is held in the right hand.

The drums of Palenque de San Basilio are extremely varied, and each of them has a specific use: the pechiche, fifty nine inches long, is played lying on the ground; it is used by the Cabildo exclusively at funeral wakes. The yamaró and alegre are used along the whole coast by cumbia and bullerengue groups.
In addition, the musicians of the Sexteto Tabalá use two more drums: the timba or tumbadora2 and the bongó. The timba, made of palm-tree wood, is set with only one membrane of goat skin which is stretched by wooden pegs and is closed at the other end. The bongó is in fact a double drum, composed of two small-sized drums which are joined together by a piece of wood. The larger of the two is called “female”, the smaller “male”. The bongó was brought to Palenque by the Cubans.
The maracas from Palenque de San Basilio are larger than those from Cuba or Venezuela. They are made with totumos fruits, which have been boiled, then dried and filled with seeds.

The marímbula : «The marímbula is formed from a wooden resonator with a hole in the middle, onto which are fixed side by side nine metal blades of different sizes. The musician sits across his instrument and sets the blades vibrating with the tip of his fingers.»3 In fact, the number of metal keys varies according to the marimbulero's skill and experience. The best musicians of Palenque are able to play up to fourteen keys.
The marímbula is related to the African sanza, or mbira. Elsewhere known as the African piano or Finger piano, this instrument plays an important role in Congo and Central Africa.
It was much used by the ñañigo sect in Cuba, in the context of certain rites of the Abakúa Brothership. When the first “power”, or ñañigo temple, was established in Cuba, it was inaugurated by Black initiates –who were authorities in the sect in Africa– using as instruments a coconut, a whistle, a marímbula and four drums. This particular, heterogenous set of instruments was meant to illustrate certain ancestral magical symbolisms.
Another type of Afro-Cuban marímbula was used by the Black Mundongos in their sorcery rituals. It was called mutekenguiyi, which in Congo language means “the force which makes the spirit of the idol nganga o nkisi intervene”. The sorcerer used the sound of the marímbula to make the dead, or the power which was at his service, work for him. For that type of marímbula, each key had a specific name: “earth”, “bird”, “skeleton”… The choice of note sequence was not determined by aesthetical criteria, but by the meaning of the keys and the type of “work” which had to be performed.
In Cuba, there even existed conga orchestras using three types of marímbulas (one with two keys, one with four and a third with seven). It was accompanied by a uelé, a sort of congo fiddle, and by a small ngoma drum.
In South America, distinct marímbula variations can be found today in the Dutch West Indies, Guyana, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Haïti, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Colombia. The Trinidad marímbula, for example, is made out of an old kerosene drum acting as resonator, in steel band fashion.
The marímbula had fallen out of use when it was picked up again by the son bands and certain traditional changui groups in the region of Guantanamó, where it is still played today.
The Sexteto Tabalá
The Sexteto Tabalá was founded in the 1940s-1950s in San Basilio de Palenque by José Valdez Simancas, also called Simancongo, an outstanding marímbula-player, improviser and composer, and one of the most active members of the Cabildo Lumbalú. Paradoxically, the band is composed of seven members instead of six, but apparently this fact was not a sufficient reason to change the name. Tabalá means “war drums” in Palenquero Creole.
The musicians themselves define better than anyone else the philosophy and essence of their group. Rafael Cassiani, the main vocalist: « Cuando oí las primeras músicas del Sexteto, eso fué muy rico para mí, eso me llevo a las nubes, y me conmovi, y enseguida hice un grupito con los compañeritos pequeños. Nos ivamos a mirar las piquerias y aprendiamos mirando a los viejos sexteteros. Fué con ese grupito, tocando y tocando, hasta que me alevanté, que fui joven, y fui tocando y hasta el dia de hoy sigo tocando hasta que dios me lo permita. Alevanté con el sexteto, y moriré con el sexteto, porque eso es mi orgullo y eso es lo que me gusta, y morire, en cualquier tarima, en cualquier momento, en cualquier presentacion ; y eso ».
«When I listened to sexteto music for the first time, I found it great, I was in heaven, I was touched, so I immediately created a small band with my friends. We went to the piquerias et and learned from the old sexteteros. Together, we played and played, until I grew into a young man, and I continue playing today, and only God will decide when I must stop. I was born with the sexteto and I'll die with it, because I'm proud of it and it's what I like. I may die any time, on any stage, during a performance.»

Manuel Valdez, percussionist: « Soy un hombre echo y derecho que me acostumbré à mis costumbres, y mi arte es de machete y fuera de machete mi arte es musical. Hombre completo ».
«I'm a mature and straightforward man, accustomed to my own traditions; my art is the machete, and besides that, music. A complete man.»

Today, the members of the Sexteto Tabalá are musicians who come from both districts of San Basilio de Palenque, which previously would have been unthinkable. During the 1970s, when the popularity of the traditional Cuban son decreased, the group turned to the musica jibara, a type of rural son from Puerto Rico which was then very popular along the whole Atlantic coast.
From Lumbalú songs to the Cuban son
The type of music which is played by the Sexteto Tabalá draws from the most primitive sources of the Cuban son: the changui or the nengón. Such music may have been played in this way in Cuban slave camps prior to any input from peasants and half-casts who brought in the guitar, and, with it, the influence of Spanish song and music.
When it arrived in Colombia, the Cuban son catalysed Colombian rhythms which had similar forms; although born in Cuba, the son belongs to a larger Caribbean family of music with more or less similar characteriscics, which is based on African response song and has integrated various American-Indian and European traditions.
The son remains the most typical melodic structure of the Hispanic Caribbean. It is indisputably the root of the salsa, and a major influence on such popular African music as the Zairian rumba or the Senegalese salsa mbalax .

From the Cuban son, the sextetos of San Basilio de Palenque borrowed the clave, as well as certain elements of the song structure in son montuno: the first part, or chanson, comprises several melodic verses; the second part, or montuno, has a faster clave beat and introduces a dialogue between the choir and soloist, improvising phrases and inspiraciones in a form of response song.
These two elements, though, rely on purely Colombian rhythmics. The Sexteto Tabalá plays their drums as in the cumbia, chalupa and mapalé. Thus, sexteto music spans from Lumbalú songs to Cuban son through a great variety of rhythms. The result is what could be called the “Lumbalú-son” (or funeral son), in which Afro-Colombians rhythms have been combined with that of the Cuban son modifying its rhythmic and melodic structure.
Because of its peculiar rhythmic and melodic character, the “son palenquero” remains a genre in its own right, heir to a complex blend of African, Colombian and Afro-Cuban influences. This specificity is enhanced by the fact that the group uses exclusively percussive and rhythmic instruments, such as the marímbula. As for the lyrics of the “sones palenqueros”, they reflect the Colombian Atlantic coast's own poetic sense, which is also present in the vallenato, another musical style from the same region.

I saw her yesterday / In the morning, watering flowers / The Garden Queen / Queen of my love gardens / Garden Queen / Welcome me with a song / Garden Queen / Welcome me with your tears. [See Colombian version on page 10]

The pieces

1. Clavo y martillo (Sexteto Matentera) 2. Son del amanecer (Sexteto Tabalá) 3. La Negra del Alma (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque) 4. Ina (Rafael Cassiani-Cayetano Blanco) 5. Esta tierra no es mía (Cuban traditional song, Sexteto Tabalá) 6. Narcisa (Rafael Cassiani) 7. Salomé (Sexteto Tabalá) 8. La Vida es muy bonita pero al fin siempre se acaba (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque) 9. Micaria (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque) 10. Chicole Blanco (Rafael Cassiani - Sexteto Tabalá) 11. Mercedes (“Sespera” Perez) 12. La Sombra Negra (Paulino Salgado “Batata”) 13. Palomita (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque) 14. En las orillas de un río (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque)

“Clavo y martillo” [Track 1]. This son which was composed in the 1930s by the Sexteto Matentera, is one of the most famous from the first sexteto period in Palenque.
It is a funeral son: clavo y martillo refers to the nail and hammer used to close the coffin. For many years, there was only one coffin in the village of San Basilio de Palenque. As it was used for all funerals, it was nailed down, then reopened each time.
The names in the song are those of dead people (such as the members of the first Sexteto Habanero) or of living people (for example Pacho Simanca, the group's marímbula-player).
Listen to the Sexteto Matentera / Nail and hammer / Saying: I'm going, I'm going for good / Then when I see you, my lie rejoices / Hammer, nail, ay! Nail and hammer! / El Habanero nailed the hammer / Hammer, nail, nail and hammer / Listen to my son which nailed the hammer / Hammer, nail, nail and hammer / The one who dies nails the hammer / Hammer, nail, nail and hammer / Pacho Simanca nailed the hammer / Hammer, nail, nail and hammer / Sespa Perez nailed the hammer / Hammer, nail, nail and hammer / Then when I see you, my lie rejoices / Nail and hammer. [See Colombian version on page 11]

“La Vida es muy bonita pero siempre se acaba” [Track 8]. This funeral son was composed by the Sexteto Habanero of Palenque, in the same spirit as “Mercedes”or “En Las Orillas de un río”.
The lyrics express the bilingual Palenque peasants' own vision of life. Their peculiar use of Spanish gives their sentences an enigmatic, yet meaningful turn of phrase.
Sometimes, I don't know that happens to me / Then / My soul figures out / That you've guessed I was in love / But change the way you see it, for life comes to an end / Life's great, but it always comes to an end / Listen Perfecto, your life's no good / Life's great, but it always come to an end / Delfina Blanco, your life's no good / Life's great, but it always comes to an end / Pacho Simanca / Life's no good / Life's great, but it always comes to an end. [See Colombian version on page 12]

“Mercedes” [Track 11] (“Sespera” Perez).
You tell me yes / You despise death / You tell me no / You despise death / To ease my pain / To ease death / Ay! You'll see, Mercedes / Tell me yes / Mercedes / Tell me no / Mercedes / Ay! what a pain, Mercedes. [See Colombian version on page 13]

“En las orillas de un río” [Track 14] (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque).
On the banks of a river / My heart is sad / I've lost the illusion of having known you / Sad and afflicted / Hurt and aggrieved / On the banks of a river, nothing more / My heart is crying / The dying one, nothing more / My heart is crying / Teresa Cassiani was crying / My heart is crying. [See Colombian version on page 13]

“Esta tierra no es mía” [Track 5] (Cuban traditional song, Sexteto Tabalá).
This song was initially a very old Cuban son which was probably brought into Colombia by the Cuban workers of “Central Colombia”. The Palenqueros have changed the lyrics, turning the song into an open criticism of the land reform and the sugar mill “Santa Cruz” (which was owned by “Central Colombia”). In fact, the communal territory of Palenque has shrunk notably since the end of the 19th century, when land owners and colonists began to settle down there.
The sugar mill Santa cruz / Is a powerful thing / They came to the Desengaño / Everything failed / This land isn't mine, it's the Nation's // I was coming back from hunting /I had shot a parrot / Colombia's downfall / Since the INCORA* has come here / This land isn't mine, it's the Nation's // The land reform has arrived / With something infinite / That all the evil they've done / They left it sugarless / This land isn't mine, it's the Nation's // INCORA misters said / We've got money now / They stand at every corner and talk about horses and cows /This land isn't mine, it's the Nation's // You Palenqueros misters / I tell you with little envy / The only ones who took advantage of this / Are the people of Malagana / This land isn't mine, it's the Nation's. [See Colombian version on page 13]
* INCORA: Colombian Institute for Land Reform.

“La Sombra Negra” [Track 12] (Paulino Salgado “Batata”).
The author of “La Sombra Negra” is the son of the famous Batata, head of the Cabildo Lumbalú and one of the greatest percussionists of Palenque. He was a master of the pechiche drum, which was used by fugitive Blacks to transmit messages across long distances. The peasants of the region still remember how Batata would give his drum a short series of strong beats to let the people from La Bonga, ten miles away, know that a Palenquero had died.
“La Sombra Negra” probably refers to the mojana, an enchanteress who is believed to live in the rivers around Palenque. She bewitches people, enticing them into the depths of the waters, where she feeds them unsalted food. When they return, these people go mad and lose all memory of what happened to them.
If you knew, my love, what I feel for you / If you knew, my love, how happy my heart is / Run, run away, or she'll catch you / The dark shadow / Ay! Run away, or she'll catch you / She's dragging herself on the ground / Rise up, rise up, dark shadow / Rise up, rise up, she's catching you. [See Colombian version on page 14]

Women are another great subject matter of sexteto compositions, as is obvious from the titles: “La Negra del Alma”, “Ina”, “Narcisa”, “Salome”, “Micaria”, “Mercedes” and “Palomita”.

How many women should a man have? / As many as you need / If I can only manage one woman, then I have one / These days, a man may have up to ten women / With ten women, I don't need to work / They have to feed me / They give me money / And give me rhum / They give me clothes…… No worries! / All I have is a stomach to fill! / And money in my pocket!
[See Colombian version on page 15]
As José Valdez Simancas sings to the sound of his marímbula: « El hombre que no enamora / debe estar en el Campo Santo / No se le merece un llanto / Porque la vida lo ignora ».
The man who inspires no love / His place is the graveyard / He deserves no tears / For life ignores him.

“Micaria” [Track 9].(Sexteto Habanero de Palenque)
Micaria, woman of my dream / I love you, I passionately adore you / In the light of oblivion / Farewell, poor heart / Micaria, I'm leaving tomorrow / Farewell, Micaria, I'm dying / I'm leaving with you, my sister / Farewell, Micaria, I'm dying / I'm leaving with you, Micaria / Farewell Micaria, I'm dying / Farewell, Micaria darling / Farewell, Micaria, I'm dying. [See Colombian version on page 15]

“La Palomita” [Track 13] (Sexteto Habanero of Palenque).
This song tells the story of a man who refuses to get married. It is reminiscent of certain sones by Cuban sextetos which had similar titles (For example: “Las Cuatro Palomas”, son by Ignacio Piñeiro).
Little dove, little dove / Fly back to your nest / Dove of my soul, dove of my love / I tell you, Manuelita, I won't get married / I tell you, Manuelita, I'll get married no more / Mountain dove / Fly back to your nest / Dove with golden beak / Fly back to your nest // Guajira dove / Fly back another time to your nest / Cartagena dove / Fly back again to your nest. [See Colombian version on page 16]

Lucas SILVA, Sergio ARRIA and Marion PROVANSAL
Paris, December 1997
Translated by Martine Desbureaux

1 Stéphanie Rouxel, Usages, fonctions et représentations de la musique à San Basilio de Palenque.
3 op. citation
4 op. citation
ROUXEL, Stéphanie, Usages, fonctions et représentations de la musique à San Basilio de Palenque, Mémoire de DEA (Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies), Université Paris III, 1997.
ORTIZ, Fernando, La Marímbula in Los Instrumentos de la Música Afrocubana, Editorial Letras Cubanas, La Habana, 1995.
ABADIA MORALES, Guillermo. Compendio General de Folclor Colombiano, Bogota, 1970.
ZAPATA OLIVELLA, Manuel, Changó el Gran Putas, Letras Americanas, Bogota, 1992.

Sexteto Tabalá
Rafael Cassiani Cassiani (main vocals and claves) - Jose Valdez Teheran “Paito” (second voice) - Jose Valdez Simanca dit “Simancongo” (marímbula) - Cayetano Blanco (bongos) - Bartolo Cañate (maracas) - José Torres Valdez (guacharaca) - Manuel Valdez Cañate (timba) - Emiliano Herrera (second marímbula)

Thanks to Palenque Records (Cartagena) and Cumbe Records (Maracaibo), without whom this album could not have been produced, Sebastián Salgado from the Culture House of Palenque, Yves Monino, the Documentary Film Foundation in (Bogota), Défi Jeunes (Hauts-de-Seine/France), Association “Que Pasa”, Sociedad Dramatica of Maracaibo (Venezuela), Fundacion Afro-america (Venezuela), Paulino Salgado “Batata”, Stéphanie Rouxel, Carmen Bohórquez, Victor Cimarra of Palenque Records for his important field work on the history of the sexteto, Justo Valdez “The Champeta King” and all the people of Palenque.

Music by the Sexteto Tabalá is performed in the film “The Champeta Kings”, by Lucas Silva and Sergio Arria, which was produced in 1997 by La Huit Production (Paris, France) and Palenque Records (Cartagena, Colombia).


released January 20, 2016

Produced by Lucas Silva for Palenque Records
Recorded in 1999 in San Basilio de Palenque by Cesar Salazar


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PALENQUE RECORDS is a label specialized in Afro-Colombian and african music, founded in 1996 by Lucas Silva Dj Champeta- Man.
Our artists : Son Palenque, Batata y su Rumba Palenquera, Colombiafrica, Abelardo CArbono, Sexteto Tabala, Faraon Bantu, Son Palenque and many more...from champeta to african music, Palenque Records puts together Africa & Afrocolombia.
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