Master Batá Drummer Esteban Vega “Chacha” Bacallo Dies at 82

Esteban Vega “Chacha” Bacallo, master batá drummer, conga player, multiple ritual drummer, drum carver and creator of drum rhythms passed away on July 17, 2007 at 82 years of age.

Esteban Vega “Chacha” Bacallo, , from Matanzas, Cuba, began playing drums at age 13. As Francisco Aguabella, master batá drummer, conga drummer, ritual drummer and Latin jazz orchestra leader once told me, "“Chacha” was the first person to lay a batá drum on my lap”.

Esteban Vega “Chacha” Bacallo was an inspiration to many drummers around the world and especially in the USA. He was teacher to Francisco Aguabella, Michael Spiro and many unmentionable more.

Esteban Vega “Chacha” Bacallo was a priest who created and consecrated fundamental drums and drummers as he did for Bill Summers.

Born on November 29, 1925 “Chacha” Vega was one of the original & last members of the Guagancó Mantancero which later became the world famous 2001 Grammy Award winners, Los Muñequitos de Matanza, who will celebrate their 55th anniversary on October 9th.

“Chacha” Vega tried to preserve the richness of the African Heritage in Cuban drumming, drum making and religion.

Article by Les Moncada