In Cuba, people from Carabali origin are called abakua. Their Carabali ancestors came from the Calabar Coast, in
the south of the Nigeria. Many slaves were deported from this country, with an
intensification in the end of the 18th century, and during the first-half of the 19th
century : this time coincides with the expansion of coffe and sugar cane plantations in
the Spanish colony of Cuba, and with the consecutive new need of labour.
Abakua societies (also called ñañigos)
are at the origine of many customs and rituals, very developed in Cuba, and act deeply
upon the culture of this island. The basis of these societies is a mutual assistance
The abakua musical instruments, used during ritual
ceremonies, are drums : Bonkó enchemiyá, Bincomé, Obí-apá, Kuchi-yeremá ; a kind of cow-bell : Ekón
; few others percussions : Itón, Erikundi,
The ceremonies (plantes) take place in consacrated rooms, and
during processions, where people dance the ireme.
Kind of fan in vegetal fibres, decorated in various ways and with little bells. The abebe is shaken for calling the orisha.
Each orisha owns his particular abebe.
Little liturgical bells used for calling the orishas in santería. For each orisha,
there is a different bell.
The anakua is a little percussion looking like a maraca : two cones of metal fixed by their points, with grain
or little stones inside. Like the maraca, the anakue is played by shaking it.