Jacob’s Pillow Dance and MASS MoCA schedule co-presentation of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas April 30 and May 1, 2011 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. The Cuban group, which last performed in the U.S. ten years ago, features 16 drummers, vocalists, and dancers from three generations of one family who interpret the “Guaguanco,” a variant of the most famous form of rumba usually danced by a couple. This style of rumba represents a flirtatious game and includes a distinctive body movement called vacunao (pelvic thrust by the male dancer) which is also found in other African-based dances from Latin America.
Video of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
appeared at the Pillow in 1994 and 1999
Established in 1952 in Mantanzas, Cuba, the group originally formed as a neighborhood ensemble of musicians and percussionists, integrating dancers in 1965. In 1956, they were invited to perform on radio and television, which led to their first released album. International tours began in 1989, as the company performed in England, Canada, Central America, South America, and Europe, making their U.S. debut in 1992. They first appeared at the Pillow in 1994 and returned in 1999.
Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album
In 2001, the group, along with a number of other Cuban artists, received the Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for their collaboration of El All-Stars de La Rumba Cubana – La Rumba Soy Yo. In 2003, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas’ 50th anniversary album, Rumba De Corazón, was named Best Folk Music Album at the 7th International Cubadisco Fair and was nominated for Best Folk Album at the Latin Grammy Awards. Since then, they have received two additional Latin Grammy nominations.
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas is recognized throughout the world as a vital force in the preservation and dissemination of Cuban culture’s African roots. The ensemble members are choreographers and composers who continue to create new work, explore and collaborate with other genres, travel, and share their authentic music and dance culture with audiences around the world.