The song Bendicion is an actual live Santeria ritual I recorded over at Sabrina’s Botanica. Sabrina is the one chanting in the song in Spanish and African. She is a very good friend I have had the honor of knowing personally for years. She is a Santeria High priestess and she healed many of my friends and even saved my brother’s life, but that is another story…
In Santeria the Botanica is the urban place of worship that replaces the jungle or plantation setting where Santeria was conceived. Santeria is a religion that combines African deities with Catholic saints. 'Santeria' comes from the Spanish word 'santo' meaning saint. Like Voodoo, Santeria came to the Americas with the slaves from West Africa, principally from the Yoruban tribes along the Niger River. Forced to convert to Catholicism, the slaves continued their religion in secret, and so instead of worshiping the mighty Chango as he is called in Africa (the orisha or angle of fire and strength) they worshiped Santa Brabara (from the word Barbarian – powerful). Slowly Chango became Santa Barbara, Olofi became Christ Orumila reincarnated into San Francisco and so forth. Gradually, the Yorubans began to see what they believed were the incarnations of their gods into the Catholic saints. Soon the Spanish and Portuguese slaves' masters became interested in the Yoruban magic and begun practicing Santeria themselves. It is a powerful religion that is associated with magic and transformation. The prayers and services are conducted with music and dance instead of long sermons. My friend Sabrina is a High priestess of Santeria. She has an amazing Botanica not far from down town LA. I consider her a real saint, she only hires homeless and people who are poor to work in her temple. I come there every once and a while to chant for her and those who worship the saints. Whatever gift or offering you give her she immediately “recycles” and hands it to someone in her congregation.
One night I came over with a mini-disc and recorded her nightly ritual. She decided to sing a chant for purification; she called it a blessing of her father – Bendicion de me Padre. There were about thirty people who participated in the ritual along with my dear friend and healer Daniel who drummed for us on the Congo. As Sabrina started her chant, her grandson Yosi appeared out from behind the jukebox and went straight into the center of the circle that was formed around Sabrina. He was two and a half years old and was recognized as a reincarnation of a great Shaman from Africa. It was a magical night for me because it was the first time I saw a real Shaman in action. I never suspected that the shaman would be 30 months old. He was entranced by the chant and the people’s clapping and drumming (you can hear that in the track Bendicion) Then all of the sudden he rolled his eyes backward and he fell flat on his back shaking violently. He was laughing all along as if he is being tickled by an invisible hand. After a few seconds he started crawling on his stomach and kissing everybody’s feet. The congregation was embarrassed, here was the toddler grandson of their priestess, kissing their feet with such humility. They tried to move their feet and he kept chasing them. No one escaped his lips. Sabrina laughed and so did he. In the recording you can hear their laughter. You can also hear Sabrina say in Spanish “The presence of the spirits grabbed him, he is too small to receive so much energy” but there was no worry in her voice, just amusement and pride in her grandchild.
I took the recording to my studio, added keyboards, some chants and in less then 24 hours went back to Sabrina with the track. She was in tears when she heard it and it was the only gift I have ever given her that I knew will stay in her heart for ever.
This is the story of Bendicion. In the chant Sabrina invokes the powers of the Orishas or angles. One by one she brings them forth to cleanse and bless whoever is hearing the chant. You can use this track for as a musical sage. The Blessing of the Father.