Sociedad Africana de Santa Bárbara: The Other Babalú-Ayé Tradition from Perico

Armando Zulueta—Omí Toké certainly put Perico on the map because of his active life traveling around Cuba and giving Babalú-Ayé to many, many people. However, just a block west of his house lies the Sociedad Africana de Santa Barbára. Founded by the Arará Ma Fementina Zulueta, the family’s religious tradition has deep ties to Babalú-Ayé.

Ma Fementina had a Babalú-Ayé and a full set of Arará drums. When she died, he stayed with her daughter, Victoria Zulueta. Victoria’s great-grandson, Aristites Angarica, still uses this Babalú-Ayé on the rare occasions that he he initiates others into the mysteries of this oricha.

Unlike most other Babalús, this one has one large, solitary stone. While he receives a single hand of cowries so he can speak, he usually speaks through coconut divination. He insists on having his own room, so he shares a building in the back yard of the family house with the drums.