Start Here Not sure where to start, try these starting ideas. They are our most popular for players to work on.
All-StarsWe have been fortunate to have some of the world best Afro-Cuban percussionists stop by our studio.
BeginnersAre you new to Afro-Cuban drumming or the Conga Drum in general? Start with these videos.
Breaking it downPlaying with good technique is essential to the conga drummer, our videos show you how.
Groove of the MonthEvery month we post a new groove for you to try. Use it in when you make your own music.
This rhythm is probably the most popular and well known of the three forms of “Rumba”. Unlike the “Yambu” which is traditionally played on boxes (cajones) at a slower tempo, or the brisk tempo of the rhythmically complex “Columbia”, the guaguanco is the rumba that most people recognize as the center piece of folkloric conga playing. It consists of a quinto (lead drum), a segundo (the middle drum), a salidor (the bottom drum), a stick part (gua-gua), a shaker (maruga), claves, and very intricate vocal parts. All three drums in this style have an opportunity to significantly improvise within their patterns, and so the resulting percussion conversation can be very beautiful and complex.
It is important to remember that all forms of rumba consist of three distinct elements---singing, dancing and drumming. A good rumbero must understand all three of these components, as it is essential to accompany the singers properly during the verses, and in turn support and inspire the dancers who will enter during the call and response section (the estribillo or montuno) that is coming after the verses. In turn, the dance form of guaguanco is a beautiful interplay between a man and woman, acting out a “courtship” in which the woman tries to resist the advances of her partner, who attempts to “possess” her through a movement known as the “vacunao”. The drummers must understand these movements in order to play properly, as the quinto in particular (but actually of three of the drums) must follow along and “dialogue” with the male dancer.
Some time ago, we had the opportunity to record many of the major styles in an ensemble setting...including singing and dancing. It is great to hear and see all of the aspects together.
Here are the links to the videos and what style is covered for each.
Learning proper technique is an essential aspect of good playing. Without it, you will be in a world of hurt. Also included in this section are many exercises to aide you with your dexterity and flexibility.
Technique and Exercise Videos
Are you new to conga drumming? You've come to the right place, here is a short list of videos to get you started. Don't worry too much about equipment for right now, just start with the basic hand strokes and focus on your technique. One of the great things about CongaMasterClass.com is different approaches that Michael and Jesus provide. Both are valid but differences are subtle. Be sure to review both sets of videos to get the most out these videos.
Also, we've thrown in our basic Tumbao exercises for you to get started on. Michael breaks this pattern down so that its easy to understand.
For Brazilian Percussion Videos Featuring Jorge Alabae and Michael Spiro.Videos covering: Candomblé, Escola de Samba, Pagode