Master Musician Fellowship, 2001

Francisco Aguabella is one of the world’s most respected drummers. Born in Matanzas-Cuba, an area well-known for the richness of its African traditions, Aguabella immigrated to the U.S. in 1957. He is recognized as a high priest of the religious Afro-Cuban bata percussion, which has its roots among the Yoruba people of West Africa. He has been honored by the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and in 1992 received a National Heritage Fellowship for his contribution to the arts. He has performed and recorded with such artists as Carlos Santana and Tito Puente, among others, and is the subject of a documentary directed by Les Blank for Zoetrope Studios.

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