This introductory chapter discusses the themes central to the book, which aims to provide a rich understanding of the many variables at work during live Lucumí performances. It presents some of the author’s own experiences with batá and with the Añá community. The chapter then describes the aesthetics of the four- to six-hour toque de santo; ethnomusicological studies of Lucumí music; the two distinct contexts in which Lucumí music flourishes: sacred and secular; and the batá in contemporary Cuba, United States, Mexico, and worldwide.
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