Thursday night, May 25th, Los Herederos (The Inheritors) graced the stage of PAX, Miami Performing Arts Exchange in Little Havana. Founder and vocalist Philbert Armenteros eloquently says that the music of the ensemble is a way to channel messages from the gods of his African ancestors, putting listeners in another dimension that allows them to experience a cleansing, purity, and inner peace.
Cuban émigré Armenteros was born in Havana. With his rich voice, the singer, arranger, composer, and dancer brings the ceremonial and folkloric essence of Afro-Cuban music alive with rhythmic vocals that incorporate call and response. Los Herederos is a traditional ensemble representing the music that came to Cuba from the West African slave ships. These are the sounds that created such a powerful bond between the slaves and the new culture they were incorporated into in Cuba. Through the African and Cuban blend a new sound emerged to represent the unity of the two cultures. Today this sound lives through groups like Los Herederos, with the powerful and distinctive rhythms of Rumba, Guaguanco, Timba, and more.
Watching and listening to the charismatic Armenteros and his group compelled us to move. First it was a small group that took to the floor. Led by a sinuous, sensual woman who took the music into her soul and let it pulse through her body, the others joined in unison. At ease in their bodies, the weight falling down to from hips to knees to grounded feet, the women danced as if they were channeling Afro-Cuban goddesses connected to earth and the elements. Others took to the floor, inspired and taken in by the energy filling the room. Armenteros’ voice swelled and the night’s pulse was undeniably in motion. We were hooked, letting the sound and feeling enter and take hold.
Los Herederos is considered one of the best exponents of the Afro-Cuban musical tradition outside of Cuba today. With its vitality and resonant sound, the band transmits the rich experience that finds its power in roots that have made the culture so undeniably resonant and compelling.
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