From Box to Cajon Drum: Peta Robles, Tío Lalo, and some Afro-Peruvian options

Peta Robles & Tío Lalo
Currently only available as part of an event.

Peta Robles and Tío Lalo are both master percussionists from Peru who come from a family, and a community, that values percussion. As Tío Lalo (Lalo Izquierdo) explains, many of the rhythms you hear in Afro-Peruvian music today come from the time of slavery and were used to communicate especially between Africans who had managed to escape (they were called "cimarrones") and people still enslaved on the plantations.

The messages meant things such as that a person had successfully escaped, that a community of cimarrones (the communities were called "palenques" had received the food smuggled to them by those remaining caught in the plantations, or that something bad was going to happen.

Peta Robles, Tío Lalo's niece, is the first Afro-Peruvian woman to win the then-new national contest for best female player of the cajón in Peru. Traditionally, women didn't play the cajón because it was felt undignified for them to be sitting on it in their traditional long skirts, but in the modern era when women wear pants, well, someone decided it was high time to include women.

This half-hour documentary, still in production, is part of our series-in-progress, Speaking of Rhythm,. We anticipate completing it by the end of summer, 2023, after which, we will take it on the festival circuit for another few months. In the meantime, we can present it to you as part of an event. The host is filmmaker Eve A. Ma.

Palomino Productions
P.O. Box 8565
Berkeley, CA., 94707, USA
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