This event is limited to NYU Students, Faculty, and Staff only. NYU ID and Daily Screener Required.
Join the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies for a film screening of TIERRA SAGRADA followed by a conversation with the film’s producer and director Ned Sublette and artist Yesenia Selier. The screening and conversation will be followed by a reception on the patio with live music by master percussionist Román Díaz.
About TIERRA SAGRADA
Produced and directed by Ned Sublette for Postmambo and Caridad Diez for Rumbaways. Director of photography: Lily Keber. 125 minutes. Postmambo, 2022.
TIERRA SAGRADA offers the most extensive documentation ever seen on film of Afro-Cuban religious ritual. Shot during the last pre-pandemic moment, January 2020, in west-central Cuba, TIERRA SAGRADA takes the viewer to sacred spaces in a region of Cuba where captive Africans were brought in massive numbers as late as the 1860s. Filmed in urban house temples, lush rural groves, and public parties in and around Matanzas and Sagua La Grande -- places that have not previously been seen on film – with the participation of ancestors, elders, and youth, and a variety of African-descended drums. The nine scenes of TIERRA SAGRADA feature wall-to-wall singing, drumming, and movement, with strong momentum toward the dramatic experience of spirit possession.
About the Participants
Ned Sublette (executive producer, producer, director, editor, camera operator), author of the best-selling Cuba and Its Music and three other books, has been working on the ground in Cuba since 1990 and has traveled there 57 times. As a producer for the Peabody Award-winning public radio program Afropop Worldwide, he has produced over 100 radio documentaries about various aspects of African and African-diaspora music and reported from many of the music capitals of the Black Atlantic. He co-founded the influential ‘90s record label Qbadisc, which brought contemporary Cuban music to the US market. In 2015, following the US opening to Cuba, he founded Postmambo Studies, which produced media, live events, and immersive live-music seminars in Cuba; TIERRA SAGRADA was filmed during the final Postmambo Cuban Music Seminar. A forthcoming live-music seminar, For the Funk of It, will take place in New Orleans Feb. 1-6, 2023. As an adjunct professor for the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, he created and co-taught the Institute’s Experiencing Havana’s Music course in Havana during January 2019 and January 2020. He has been a Knight Luce Fellow for Reporting on Global Religion, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Tulane Rockefeller Humanities Fellow, and a Patrick Henry Writing Fellow at the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown MD.
Yesenia Selier is a Cuban-born performer and researcher, recipient of fellowships from CLACSO, Cuban Heritage Collection, the Díaz-Ayala Cuban and Latin American Popular Music Collection, and Tinker Foundation. Her work on Afro Cuban culture, encompassing dance, music, and racial identity has been published in Cuba, the United States, Colombia, and Brazil. She has worked alongside artists like Teresita Fernanez, Coco Fusco, Septeto Nacional de Cuba, Jane Bunnett, Wynton Marsalis, Chucho Valdés, Pedrito Martinez, and Román Diaz. She produced the theater play “ Women Orishas” for Miami Cuban Museum (2013), the performance procession "Día de Reyes" at Madison Square Park (2015), the performance "Oshun-Inform" in Washington Square Park (2016), “Nigra Suns” at the Kennedy Center (2018) and the healing procession “En(CoroNa)cion" (2020).
Román Díaz is a master percussionist, scholar, and composer Román Díaz is regarded as a “living repository” of Afro Cuban music. As a member of the seminal rumba ensemble Yoruba Andabo and mentored by the great Pancho Quinto, he aided in the creation of the sound that has defined rumba since the 1980ʼs. His mastery of Batá along with his rock solid groove on congas is present on countless recordings worldwide. His ensemble gives a profound and unforgettable cultural experience, presenting its own unique repertoire with a broad and deep sound that draws upon its tradition, and all the stations along the evolutionary journey of Afro-Cuban music.