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Angel Kelly
Angel Kelly

Poncho Sanchez' Conga Cookbook: Develop Your Conga Playing By Learning Afro-Cuban Rhythms From The M [UPDATED]


Beginning in the late 1960s, band conga players began incorporating elements from folkloric rhythms, especially rumba. Changuito and Raúl "el Yulo" Cárdenas of Los Van Van pioneered this approach of the songo era.




Poncho Sanchez' Conga Cookbook: Develop Your Conga Playing By Learning Afro-Cuban Rhythms From The M


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Tomás Cruz developed several adaptations of folkloric rhythms when working in Paulito FG's timba band of the 1990s. Cruz's creations offered clever counterpoints to the bass and chorus. Many of his marchas span two or even four claves in duration, something very rarely done previously.[17] He also made more use of muted tones in his tumbaos, all the while advancing the development of . The example on the right is one of Cruz's inventos ('musical inventions'), a band adaptation of the Congolese-based Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythm makuta. He played the pattern on three congas on the Paulito song "Llamada anónima." Listen: "Llamada Anónima" by Paulito F.G.


Conjuntos and orchestras playing Colombian dance music have incorporated cumbia rhythms, traditionally played on tambores known as alegre and llamador, to the conga drums. The standard Colombian cumbia rhythm is simple and played slowly; it goes 1-2-2-1, also heard as 1-2-1-2. In the Dominican Republic, the fast merengue rhythm, which goes 1 2-1-2, can be played on the conga. It can also be heard as 1-2-1-2 1-2-1-2-1-2. Essentially, it is the rhythm of the tambora applied to conga. In merengue típico (or cibaeño), the rhythm is usually more complex and less standardized; it can range from simply hitting the conga on a fourth beat to playing full patterns that mark the time.


A classic conguero, Poncho Sánchez, a giant on the Latin jazz scene, has developed into salsa's elder statesman. Sánchez, a Chicano from Texas, taught himself guitar and congas, and gained experience singing with a teen band, but found himself shut out of opportunities to play with Cubans and Puerto Ricans, who considered themselves the sole heirs of salsa. At age 23 he found a mentor, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, and was able to make his own way to the top, gig by gig. His open, inclusive style has survived over three decades of constant travel, annual recordings, percussion workshops, and absorption in new trends, new performers, and the tastes of his fans. Internationally acclaimed by percussionists and jazz aficionados, Sánchez became a leading player and producer of a consistent string of hit albums layering Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban, salsa, bop, funk, and rhythm and blues.


Still in demand around the globe for jazz jams and student tutorials, Sánchez has continued to promote Latin jazz, and to advise young aspiring percussionists to stay focused on music and practice with electronic instructional aids. He added to their choices in March of 2002 with Poncho Sánchez's Conga Cookbook, a print guide to standard riffs and Afro-Cuban rhythms. He keeps a backlog of innovative ideas for developing American-style Latin jazz as an egalitarian music for everybody. The website "Salsa Creations" quoted his belief: "If you feel Latin jazz in your heart and love it as much as I do, it doesn't matter where you're from."


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