Celebration of Yaya Maldonado

Rumba is resistance and community. Here are some shots from the celebration of the immense life and legacy of Iluminado "Yaya" Maldonado, which took place at La Peña Cultural Center on May 22, 2022. We celebrated Yaya's life together with incredible musicians such as Fito Reynoso, Jose Luis Seluma Gomez, Sandy Perez, Javier Navarrette, Hector Lugo, N. Bruce Williams, Juan Pescao, Dennis Bain, Jeffrey Zable, Treviño Leon, Butch Haynes, Orlando Diaz, and Jesus Diaz, and more.


Back in 2010, soon after moving to the Bay Area, I used to spend hours at La Peña after bomba class on Sundays to immerse myself in the music and energy of Afro-Cuban rumba, during the jam sessions that Yaya had established in the 1990s, and that he kept leading until his health deteriorated a few years ago. I will always remember him and I will always hear his drum.