How did you learn to play congas?

A place where discuss about secrets, tips and suggestions for practicing on congas and to improve your skill and technique ...

Postby JohnnyConga » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:35 pm

Ay brother por favor....."TO ME" OK he was the BEST OF THE BEST IN HIS TIME..why are you so defensive all the time....tengo sangre Cubano tambien...I know about the "pantheons" of Cuba....besides the Cuban Congueros know who "they" are and how good they are as well....."JC" Johnny Conga....
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Postby zaragenca » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:16 pm

Remember brother JC,...I LOVE ALL OF THEM, that's why I dedicate myself to study all these in deep,(I could not take credit off from any of them),....Mongo was the best Tumbador de Cuba, 'ESTABLISHED' in the U.S.A.,and the most succesfull percussionist from Cuba in the U.S.A.,he already got his own place in the galaxy,but I couldn't go over the line on that... your brother .Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby Omelenko » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:37 pm

To me Mongo was the most "African" of all Cuban tumbadores and the most powerful as far as slaping the tumba. I have an old Cuban friend 89 yrs. old, his last name is Prendes, also Diego Iborra( Mofeta), Dizzy's first tumbador before Chano. Prendes was a waiter at the Waldrof Fastoria hotel in NYC in the 50's. He went to the Palladium regularly, he says that when Mongo was with Puente, when you were taking a piss in the bathroom,you could hear Mongo's "tapao" sounding off the wall, back then only 1 microphone for the entire orchestra. When Fajardo went in 1959 with a young Tata Guines on tumbadora, Prendes says you couldn't hear the tumba 10 feet away from you. To me Tata is fabulous, but not as strong a hitter as Mongo was.
I respect all Cuban masters, Tata,Armando,Patato,Candido,Jabuco,Oscar Valdes,Marcelino Valdes,Raul & Kike (Arsenio's brothers),Silvestre Mendez,Chocolate, Aguabella,Chonguito..... Did I foget any from the old skool ? Still,in my book, Mongo was king. There are some clips of Mongo with Beny More and Conj. Matamoros in Mexico in 1948on Youtube,check them out. Saludos, Dario :D
Saludos, Dario
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Postby Whopbamboom » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:57 am

Played djembe for a number of years, picked up my first set of congas a few months ago. Some of my existing patterns and rythms transferred right over, but I also quickly learned that the congas are a completely different animal... been developing my own stuff ever since. I hope to be able to start learning traditional rhythms soon, but for now I am content to really explore my own inventions and variations. I have a lot to work with at present.
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Postby Roka » Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:17 am

Omelenko wrote:. With the left he told me to use heel and fingertip motion and to repeat the phrase "PURA MADURA" and play that phrase with heel-fingertip on the left. If

What do you play with this PURA MADURA?
H-T-H-T-T ?
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Postby zaragenca » Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:26 pm

Welcome brother Omelenko,nobody could debate with me about powerful tumbadores,the most powerful tumbadores that anybody could observe were already observed by me in Cuba in the Comparsas you want to know what is power?...I have been inside my room,(in Cuba, ‘Los Sitios’), which is two stories high, and the Comparsa,(Conga-Group), have been playing in Lealtad y Manrique which are three and half blocks away,.. since there is not such thing as microphone in a Comparsa and this people have to carry themselves the drums to play walking with them many time 30 blocks and playing…I could heard the drums when they were in that position three blocks away,and there were many like that in Cuba,are you going to talk to me about power,and you have among many ,DIE HARD RUMBREOS in Cuba people like Nico,(Pello El Afrocan),Santos Ramirez,(a Comparsa director in Cuba since the 1930’s), Silvestre Mendez,(the number one Rumbero in Jesus Maria,which is the barrio of Mongo Santamaria), Carlos Valdez Sr,(the father of Carlos Valdez of Irakere),Clemente ‘Chicho’ Piquero,(Mongo-Idol),Agustin ‘Manana’ Gutierrez, the Sotolongo’s dynasty,…the Alfonso’s dynasty ,(including Rolando Alfonso and Jorge,”El Nino’ Alfonso,Chocolate,(not the trumpet player but the Tumbador,Tata-Guines,Papo-Kilo,(the Los Sitios)…Let me stop here that I don’t want to be here the whole week..Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby pcastag » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:22 am

Brother, ya me canse de sus historias de Cuba, I've been to havana twice saw incredible musicians that nobody here has heard of, siempre hay musicos en cada esquina que son tremendos, but here we are talking about musicos conocidos. For me I love mongo, his simplicity , his timing, his placement, his sound, incredible, Tata definitley was more of a chops guy, different style, that's all. For me it all started in 84, went to see Santana at the Waldorf in SF, he had what I consider to be his greatest lineup on percussion at the time, Armando Peraza, Orestes Vilato and a young Raul Rekow. Armando would sit in front and play bongos, tremendo bongocero!WOW! Went out and bought some LP generation 2 bongos that I still have.
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Postby zaragenca » Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:40 pm

Welcome Pcastag, if you express your personal choice becouse it is all you know,or you like that is your personal world,...but as an 'authority' in this affairs for many years,I have to let people know that there was a world before that and there is more world after that,and those people which I mentioned are very known,(if you don't know them),that only means that you don't know everybody..Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby Omelenko » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:40 pm

Hey Zaragenca,
All those that you mentioned I know about them. I'm Cuban also from "El Barrio Del Cerro" (El Cerro tiene la llave). As I kid I saw the rehearsals of "La Comparsa Del Alacran", which was from El Cerro. Mongo was like a father to me, so I know all this stuff. I think what pisses peple off is that your attitude is arrogant, thinking that you know more than anyone. Being humble is the biggest attribute. Look at Giovanni Hidalgo, he is the number one conguero/rumbero in the world and he is a very simple humble guy. I'm Cuban and I know the Cuban tumbadores (Changuito, Anga RIP, Vizcaino, Yaroldy Abreu....) Gio is even beyond these guys, but what makes him real big is being humble. El alarde no esta en nada, monina ! Saludos Dario :D

Enclosed Mongo, me and friends.


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Postby Omelenko » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:58 pm

Tres de los mas grandes.From left to right. Francisco,Armando and Mongo. Moforibale al tambo !
Saludos, Dario :D


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Postby pcastag » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:36 pm

Thank you omeleko, it is not the informaton that I don't appreciate it is quotes like " no one can debate with me about..." as if you are the foremost and only expert in the world on Cuban Pecussion. I spent two trips to Havana, three weeks hanging and studying wth alberto villareal, in the same room playing bata 3 hours with jesus perez fundamanto right above me. Never in the time I spent there did I receive an attitude of superiority from my most humble teacher, a great man who was mre than wlling to share his knowledge, and truly enjoyed hanging out and teaching. That to me is a true master.
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Postby zaragenca » Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:16 pm

Well brother Omelenko when I’m debating a subject sometime I get carry on,but that is a reflection of the ‘Die Hard Rumbero’ blood that I have on me,and the security that when I said something about Afrocuban Percussion is because I spend my time talking and observing the people which where the ‘monsters’,in this in Cuba,(folkloric and popular),..I also have a lot of percussionist which are like father to me,(but I still have to say the true about the monsters in Cuba which many times have been neglected in giving the proper credit,and I went to Pinar del Rio,Matanzas,Las Villas,Camaguey,(first with my mother for the religion affairs and later by myself)…One of my Godfather is from ‘El Cerro’,…It is say, El Cerro tiene La Llave,…and Los Sitios tiene el candado…To Pcastag,… I have never have to go to Cuba to learn anything...”I was born and raise in this affairs”, and did talk and observe Jesus Perez long before you could know him and more.…I could say anything I want about it because I’m an AUTHORITY in the Afrocuban Percussion affairs and still teaching Advanced Percussion Structure,(even when I have full knowledge of other types of music)..Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby CongaTick » Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:30 pm

"...I could say anything I want about it because I’m an AUTHORITY in the Afrocuban Percussion affairs..."

Thank God we have an authority on the forum to set us straight.
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Postby zaragenca » Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:12 pm

Welcome CongaTick,..you are right about that lets thanks God,which have been giving me the blessing since I was born for all the knowledge which my ancestors have trusts on me,and I myself have continued with the studies and practice of other genre of music,Jazz,Rock,reggae,Brazilian,African,South Amarican,Caribbean,etc...Thanks to all those people that I have share some experinces in the musical field facilitating me to obtain more resources for the foundation of my knowledge in the percussion world.Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby JohnnyConga » Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:46 pm

Dr. Z...I would imagine you being an AUTHORITY you must have written some books by now on cuban drumming, si o no?....cause if u have I would like to read it..."JC" Johnny Conga.... :D
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