1. 01 - Elegua 0:31
  2. 02 - Ogun 0:31
  3. 03 - Ochosi 0:36
  4. 04 - Inle 0:31
  5. 05 - Babaluaye 0:30
  6. 06 - Osain 0:17
  7. 07 - Orisha-Oko 0:20
  8. 08 - Orula 0:16
  9. 09 - Agayu 0:32
  10. 10 - Chango (Aluya Piti-Aro) 0:36
  11. 11 - Obatala 0:32
  12. 12 - Yewa 0:19
  13. 13 - Obba 0:31
  14. 14 - Oya 0:31
  15. 15 - Ochun 0:34
  16. 16 - Olokun Yemaya La Meta de Chango 0:34

Reviews & Testimonials

El Lenguaje del Tambor is one of the most detailed instructional tools I have seen. Great care has been taken to show both the ensemble and individual performances of all the rhythms in the Oro Seco from all angles. It gives the student the opportunity to learn each drum at their leisure and then fit it into the group. The transcriptions in "Bata Rhythms from Matanzas, Cuba" provide a clear written counterpart to the visuals of the drummers and clarify where Daniel Alfonso places the rhythms against the pulse timeline.John Amira

The importance of this DVD cannot be overstated in my opinion, precisely because it introduces us to the “other” style of bata drumming, the one that is located in the folkloric cradle of the country—the province of Matanzas. Here we find a totally different sound, one in which the rhythms are just as extensive and complex as in La Habana, but in some ways more challenging to play, because the techniques include additional sounds and physical requirements.Michael Spiro

Produced with imagination, savvy and skill by a formidable team of Cuban and American musicians and film makers, "El Lenguaje del Tambor: Bata Rhythms and Techniques from Matanzas, Cuba" (2 DVDs) and its accompanying book of musical transcriptions…is the best distance learning package of its kind I have seen.Amanda Vincent

Historically speaking, this work will forever stand as a precise documentation of the Matanzas-style Oru Seco at the dawn of the 21st Century. Its significance is on par with the 1950 Havana-style Oro Seco transcriptions of Fernando Ortiz.David Peñalosa

There is no other production available anywhere which details bata drumming with the depth and breadth of El Lenguaje de Tambor. The five (5) total hours of video, both performance and interviews, comprise much more than just a Master Class of playing the bata. This is truly a historical work which will take its place among the few masterpieces within the study of Afro-Cuban drumming and religion.Chuck Silverman

This DVD is a true labor of love. Any student of bata drumming (at least here in the States) knows that information on the Matanzas style is by far the hardest to come by. Well, consider this a major breakthrough in bringing this beautiful, profound and funky drumming style to the rest of the world. The production is top notch, the format is exceptional, and most importantly this DVD's got some soul!Mark Merella

The centerpiece of the DVD, other than the religion and the music itself, is omo anya and ocha priest Daniel Alfonso Herrera. Señor Alfonso presents this complex subject with authority, simplicity and clarity. He also speaks to the inner nature of bata drumming and the orisha in terms I have not encountered before.Peter Dunbar

The technique for each drum is clearly explained and each rhythm is broken down into individual parts (with an achere playing the pulse! Very important for me as a beginner batalero!)Alan McCulloch

To watch these drummers play, with none of the affectations commonly found in highly skilled musicians, is a privilege. To hear them speak of Aña, and then play afterwards in the language demonstration, nearly brought me to tears….In my opinion, the word "master" is tossed about rather freely these days but in this case it is clearly an understatement…Dante Mejia

Release Details


2 DVDs, 308 minutes


The El Lenguaje del Tambor (The Language of the Drum) is a comprehensive 2  part video package offering 5 hours of drumming demonstrations, tutorials, and interviews in Spanish with English subtitles.

The film features the late Master of Afro Cuban Percussion Daniel Alfonso Herrera. His clean, disciplined technique and clear, detailed explanations of the intricacies of Matanzas-style bata drumming are invaluable for both the novice and the experienced drummer.

Disc Part 1 is 2 hours long and includes the complete Oro Seco as played at the Cabildo de Santa Teresa in Matanzas. Short introductions provide insights into the Orishas (deities) and the overall techniques for each rhythms. The Oro was professionally filmed with multiple cameras to ensure that each of the drummers’ hands is clearly visible.

The disc concludes with an interview and drumming demonstration about the language of the bata drums, and a bonus interview with legendary percussionist Esteban “Chachá” Vega Bacallao of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas fame, one of Daniel’s early teachers.

Disc Part 2 is 3 hours long and features tutorials on the specific techniques of Okonkolo, Itotele and Iya and the complete Oro Seco broken down drum by drum. Here the filming focuses on Daniel’s hands from the front and from the sides to illustrate the proper formation of the hands and the various techniques used in each rhythm.

Menus in each Part allow the student to navigate by rhythm (Part 1) and by rhythm and drum (Part 2).

The Bata Rhythms Transcriptions, by percussionists Michael Spiro and Kristin Olson, are available separately or when purchased as part of the Lenguaje del Tambor Set. They offer the most detailed and complete documentation of the fundamentals of Matanzas-style drumming ever produced.

Track Listing


  1. Interview with Daniel Alfonso
  2. The Oro Seco
  3. Elegua (Latopa, Abukenke)
  4. Ogun
  5. Ochosi
  6. Inle
  7. Babaluaye
  8. Osain
  9. Orishaoko
  10. Orula
  11. Agayu
  12. Chango (Aluya, Piti Aro)
  13. Obatala
  14. Yewa
  15. Obba
  16. Oya
  17. Ochun
  18. Olokun & Yemaya, with La Meta de Chango
  19. The Language of the Drums: Interview
  20. The Language of the Drums: Demonstration
  21. Interview with Chachá


  1. Okonkolo Technique
  2. Itotole Technique
  3. Iya Technique
  4. The Dynamic of the Drums
  5. The Oro Seco (broken down by rhythm, by drum)
  6. The Close

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El Lenguaje del Tambor Videos (DVD)

The El Lenguaje del Tambor (The Language of the Drum) is a comprehensive 2 part video package offering 5 hours of drumming demonstrations, tutorials, and interviews in Spanish with English subtitles.