The French Tumba. Heritage and Tradition.
The French Tumba is one of the most ancient and important music-dancing expression in the Cuban culture that has influenced direct or indirectly on other artistic manifestations appeared later, as the congas and comparsas.
Its origins are found at the arrival in Cuba of French proprietary that during the Haitian Revolution in 1791 ran away from their country with their slaves. Many of them looked for new refuge in zones of the Cuban east, mainly in well known areas in Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo. Other regions located in the center of the island like Cienfuegos and Matanzas also received there influences.
The name of the Tumba responds to the qualifying that receive the three unimembraniphones drums known as bulá. Second and premier, in conga-dahome-yane language conform the polyrhythmic and polytone musical sound the bass drum, the cata (trunk of a dry and excavated tree that becomes sound with two bobbins) and the marugas o chachás, kinds of maracas of metal, sound by women, while her partners dance after the voice of the composé (singer) greets the precidence and invites to the dance of lights and elegant that evidence the French legacy of 18th century. In Congo language the party Tumba Francesa also wants to say noisy festivity with drums.
The Tumba Francesa is distinguished from other African dances by the clothing that wear its integrants and by dance style, whish movement follow the ones they call dance of hall, when the woman and the man move each other with cadence, softness and elegance without lift the feet from the floor. The discretion and elegance with they holds the waves of the dresses or frocks distinguish there movements.
In the Loma Del Chivo neighborhood see of Santa Catalina de Ricci Pompadour Society, the visitors can enjoy the music and dance interacting with the players and dances, besides receive information about their history and evolution from 18th century.
Santa Catalina de Ricci Pompadour Society constitutes a relic of the folklore from Guantánamo. This institution of Gtmo registered on November 30th, 1902, is the only one that remained with the pass of the time, thanks to the constancy of the members that have transmited that tradition to their descendants from generation to generation.
In November, 2003 the UNESCO declared it Masterpiece of the Oral and Immaterial Patrimony of Humanity. The distinction was given on July 9th, 2004 on the frame of the 24th Caribbean Festival that is celebrated traditionally in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.
The delivery of the high acknowledgment of the UNESCO was realized at the see of this cultural institution, in the same historic center of Stgo. de Cuba, that next to Gtmo are the bastions of this dance, At the present time the Tumba Francesa keeps its effect with the traditions defended by it seventh generation, many of them young people.