Twenty-five years ago a group of dancers formed Obini Batá, and challenged the tradition of all-male drummers by becoming the first women to perform with the Batá in Cuba. Obini (the Yoruba word for Women) thus shaped the history of one of Cuba’s most influential instruments. But there were many who thought women playing the drum was scandalous and it became a struggle to gain wider acceptance.
This short film by Damian Calvo gives us a intimate portrait of Obini Batá during rehearsal inside their home base at the Cine Cervantes in Havana Cuba. The film follows the band as they sing, dance, and play percussion, embracing a wide variety of musical styles and blending them seamlessly into weekly performances for energized crowds. The film reveals a rare glimpse into a world of music and human connection through the creative life of this extraordinary group of women, and their story of playing the Batá