Diblo Dibala, Sexteto Tabala | Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park | International | Chicago Reader

Diblo Dibala, Sexteto Tabala Free All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., June 23, 6:30 p.m. 2011

Formed in the 1940s in San Basilio de Palenque on Colombia's Pacific coast, Sexteto Tabala is among the longest-running groups playing traditional Afro-Columbian percussion music. The band's home is one of the oldest surviving villages founded by freed and escaped African slaves, and the rhythms of that community's music have become integral elements of cumbia and (after the influx of African pop records in the 70s) champeta. Sexteto Tabala uses only percussion and voice, much as the village's music has for centuries, but it takes inspiration from a relatively modern source: the pioneering Cuban son groups of the early 20th century (which featured tres, bass, and later trumpet). Colombian son retains the clave pattern as its bedrock and also draws heavily from local funeral rituals called lumbalu, borrowing rhythms like chalupa, bullerengue, porro, and mapale. On the recent Con un Solo Pié (Palenque), the nine-piece "sexteto" creates a thick blanket of polyrhythms, accelerating and decelerating smoothly and easily, while ebullient group chants answer the coarse, avuncular lead vocals of Rafael Cassiani Cassiani. Throughout each song, one or another of the eight percussionists zips into the spotlight to make a terse solo statement on congas, bongos, or coros, stepping out and then blending back in without causing the slightest hiccup in the ferocious grooves. Colombian music is in the midst of an international renaissance, and Sexteto Tabala provides an exciting opportunity to hear its roots. —Peter Margasak

Price: Free

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