The ninth edition of the International Timbalaye Festival, taking place August 18 through September 1, will be the first to celebrate rumba’s inscription on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
As such, this year’s “Ruta de la Rumba” (Rumba Route) festival will take the form of a nationwide celebration featuring a broad program of music and dance performances across the entire island.
Activities will take place in Pinar del Río, La Habana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantánamo, and in addition to celebrating rumba’s designation as intangible cultural heritage of humanity, will also be dedicated to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro.
Sponsored by UNESCO’sRegional Bureau for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, theHermanos Saíz Association, Cuban Ministry of Culture, Fernando Ortiz Foundation, and National Cultural Heritage Council, among other institutions, the Ruta de la Rumba will kick-off with a ceremony honoring over 30 rumberos at the entrance to the municipality of Regla, on August 18 at 10:30am, according to event organizers Irma Castillo and Ulises Mora, speaking during a press conference.
Meanwhile, Director General ofUNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Katherine Müller, noted that Cubans will have ample opportunity to participate in the festival. “We are happy to be sponsoring this edition because rumba is an expression of Cuban resistance and national identity,” stated the representative.
Rumba is an example of Cuban pride, respect for the country’s traditions and its wealth of rhythms and cultural heritage; and the Ruta is a way of promoting rumba as living and participative heritage, noted Müller speaking before the press.
As well as music and dance performances, the event program includes activities in cultural centers, theoretical panel discussions, book and magazine presentations, rumba classes, ceremonies honoring Yoruba deity Yemayá, considered to be the mother of all living things, talks related to the Timbalaye project, as well as encounters with iconic figures from the world of rumba.
Performances will be led by the best rumba and folklore groups from every province, including Yoruba Andabo; Iyerosun; Nsila Cheche (Havana); Obbayonko and Aye Oñi (Pinar del Río); Obinisa Aché; Obba Ilú; Rumba Lay (Cienfuegos); Achechuré and los Rumberitos Infantiles (Trinidad); Camagua and Maraguán (Camagüey); as well as Cocuyé, Cutumba, and Abbureyé (Santiago de Cuba), during this year’s festival which will conclude September 1, in Havana’s Salón Rosado de la Tropical.
According to event organizers, the Ruta de la Rumba will travel to Europe and Latin America as part of the Timbalaye project, with the aim of “maximizing the contribution of cultural tourism as an effective tool for sustainable development.”