guestvideosAt we fortunate to have access to the finest community of professional Afro-Cuban Percussionists there are. We frequently have guests drop by our studio to teach and perform exclusive material for our members.

Guests include Jesus Diaz (before he became a regular instructor), Karl Perazzo of the Carlos Santana Band, and the exciting Bombon.

Karl Perazzo



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 is different approaches that Michael and Jesus provide. Both are valid but differences are subtle.

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.


Spiro-Basic Technique

Diaz-Basic Strokes

Diaz-Slap Examples

Spiro-Salsa Tumba-Beginning

Learning proper technique is essential to good playing. Without it, you will be in a world of hurt. (literally). Included in this section are many exercises to aid you with your dexterity and flexibility.


Technique and Exercise Videos

Guaguanco is arguably the most popular and well-known 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 (middle drum), a salidor (bottom drum), a stick part (gua-gua), a shaker (maruga), claves, and very intricate vocal parts. All three drums have an opportunity to 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 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.

Guaguanco Videos

ensembleSome time ago, we had the opportunity to record many of the major styles in an ensemble setting...including singing and dancing.

Folkloric Afro-Cuban music relies on all 3 of these categories: drums, singing, dancing. Study the relationships between.