Omo Aché Cuban Culture - Afro-Cuban Music & Dance Company

cuban music, musica cubana, cuban dance

OMO ACHÉ CULTURAL ARTS

Omo Aché is an organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and educating the general public about the richness of Cuban music, dance & culture.   Omo Ache’s performance group actively preserves the traditional dances, songs, music and stories of Cuba.   Omo Aché Afro-Cuban Dance & Music Co. offers audiences a journey through the evolution of Cuban culture, from its African roots to today's most popular urban expressions.  Performers of Omo Aché include Cuban and local artists dedicated to the ethnographic study of traditional Afro-Cuban cultural arts under the guidance of master folklorist and artistic director Juan Carlos Blanco Riera. 

Omo Aché offers a variety of performances, classes, lectures and workshops to educational and artistic venues where multi-cultural perspectives are valued.  The performance group presents regularly in universities, community colleges, and community festivals throughout California. Most recently Omo Aché performed at the Cuba Caribe Festival in San Francisco; at the Afro-Latino Festival at the Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles; and at the Nations International Dance Festival in San Diego.  

Mr. Blanco takes pride in cultivating a deep understanding of this rich cultural art form by emphasizing historical context, precision, spirit and character.   This knowledge is transmitted through a variety of public classes and workshops conducted by Mr. Blanco and by visiting master artists.   As a performance group, Omo Aché strives to embody the wisdom of this rich culture with passion, unity, respect and integrity.   

The name Omo Aché comes from Lucumi, the Yoruba language as it has been preserved in Cuba.  Omo means children and Aché is positive spiritual energy that brings good fortune.     Mr. Blanco chose this name to recognize the importance of the youth in the preservation and development of culture.

....the invigorating experience of cultural arts engages the body, expands the mind, touches the heart, feeds the soul, builds community and lets the spirit soar!

“Omo Aché are our blessed children, our hope, and our future.  Let us cultivate their minds, bodies and spirits so that they may blossom while rooted in the traditions passed down through the generations.”   - Juan Carlos Blanco

Omo Aché performances include the representation of Cuba's three most influential African cultures: the Yoruba (from Nigeria); the Arará (from present day Benin and Togo); the Congo (from Bantu speaking tribes of present day Angola region) and Franco-Haitian (also Bantu speaking Angola region via Haiti) Each of these African cultures has its own distinct language, style of expression and religion. When Africans were brought to Cuba as slaves, they were taught to worship the Catholic religion by the Spanish. Despite this attempted conversion by the dominant culture, Cuban Africans fought to preserve their cultural identity through Cabildos, or cultural societies. Africans held on to their religious beliefs and practices while looking for similarities between the Catholic saints and their own spirits (a process called ‘syncretism’). This is why most African gods and goddesses in Cuba also share the names of Catholic saints. Cabildos provided a source of strength uniting Cuban Africans by ethnicity. These African cultures remain strong and thriving today in communities through out Cuba.

Michael Lazarus - Sunday, 12 June 2011, 05:49 AM