“Our Latin Thing” celebrating 30 years of Latin Music in the UK


The London Lucumi Choir were very honoured to feature on the stage with Britain’s finest Salsa Musicians. You may be asking what does an Afro-Cuban Spiritual Choir have to do with Salsa? Well, where should I start. There has been much written about the development of Salsa Music and so I will keep it brief.  Historically Salsa was a term that was used as a useful commercial tool to sell music that was growing in the Barrios of New York in the 70’s. The Roots of Salsa Structurally can be traced to Cuban genres of Music such as “Son” and ” Guaracha” although other musical elements indigenous to other Latin and Caribbean Communities in particular the  The Puerto Rican Community.  Afro Cuban Jazz also made it’s mark  and it’s very difficult to separate the role of Afro Cuban Percussionists and the fact that most of them had ties as ceremonial drummers in one Afro Cuban religion or the other. The Film ” When Spirits Dance Mambo” Directed by Marta Moreno Vega, illustrates this perfectly. It is hard to imagine the development of Afro Cuban Jazz and music such as Salsa without percussionists such as Julito Collazo, Chano Pozo, Francisco Aguabella, Armando Peraza, Mongo Santamaria and also Milton Cardona. Many of these percussionists had a background in ceremonial drumming and so the influence of Santeria was always there. In addition, Afro Cuban Jazz, Salsa and before it, Son and Guaracha have always been a vehicle to honour the Orishas and there are countless songs and arrangements dedicated to the Orisha, in Cuba and also in the United States.

Podcast featuring “Madres” Playlist Cal Jader interviews Daniela De Armas on his Movimientos show

Amazing Resource of music featuring the Orisha

Celia Cruz featured in a 1957 film

With Relation to the London Lucumi Choir and Latin Music in the UK the main protaganists of the Choir were involved in the Salsa Scene for three decades or More. Daniela R De Armas was founder of two Salsa Bands in the 1980’s and the 1990’s  “Salsa Y Aché and  Salsasonica . David Pattman was Bongosero of one of the earliest London Based Salsa Bands  “EL Sonido De Londres” . Jim Le Messurier was founder member and Timbales Player of one of the best Salsa Outfits in the UK, La Clave and Bill Bland was involved in countless Latin bands throughout the last 30 years.

Below: A track by Salsasonica written by Alex Wilson and Daniela Rosselson ( De Armas)  and some vintage photos back in the day!             Salsasonica

Press Cuttings Salsa Y
El Sonido De Londres early 1980’s
Salsa Y Aché 1992
La Clave 1980’s

The London Lucumi Choir will be joining Roberto Pla, his orchestra and host of other amazing musicians on the 16th July 2016: TO BOOK PRESS HERE!

About oshunschild 24 Articles
I am a London based Iyalosha, ( Priest in the Lucumi tradition) crowned with Ochun; who is passionate about the arts I Grew up in London, mixed background, third generation musician. I went to study music in Cuba in 1986, since then I have done many things. I was one of the first Salsa Dance Teachers in London in 1989, before it became the sport of a million suburban housewives; formed Orchestra Salsa Y Ache in late 80's, toured and did many gigs for seven years; then formed Salsasonica which recorded with Buena Vista's Guajiro Mirabal. I have taught Cuban Music to children. I have also organised five musical trips to Cuba. I Have written about Latin Music, and I am passionate about singing and encouraging everyone to sing. I formally ran "singing for the terrified" at the Mary Ward Centre, in addition to a world music choir. I formed the London Lucumi Choir in 2006 which has performed all over the UK, in major theatres such as the Barbican, the Southbank and Union Chapel, Rich Mix, The British Museum and the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. In addition, we have performed at festivals such as La Linea and Bestival. We have performed on Radio and Television and have consistently been nominated in the Lukas awards, where we were second in our category in 2018 ( for contribution to Latin Music and Arts). I Have been a practitioner of Santeria, also known as Lucumi since 1986. Between the years 1991 and 2005 I received My Elekes, Warriors and Olokun. In 2005 I received my Ikofafun ( Ifa) and on February 9 2006 I became initiated as a Priestess of Ochun in Luyano, Havana. My Branch of the religion is La Pimienta. I was born from Obatala and Yemaya. My Iyatobi Oshainle passed this year and Omi Laibo is my Ojubona. I received Pinardo with Baba Funke and Omi Saide in Havana in July 2018. I run an active Ile (religious house/Orisha temple) In addition to running the Choir and guiding Godchildren in the Lucumi faith. I am also a diviner of the Dilogun. I enjoy spending time with my family. I have a passion for art and nature, good music, genealogy and travel. I enjoy writing, beading and embroidery, when I have the time! PS I also have adhd which predicts that I will decorate the entire house with different colours every few years!