just showing off my new look on this page.
Oh but how I like the drums.
Looks good audiokid. They look like the top of the range LP congas, the ones that Giovanni Hildalgo uses.
Just bought those exact three drums in april!
Sadly realized that being a drummer does NOT mean I can play congas well.......YET!!!
To play congas _really_ well in the latin style requires a life time. However, Congas lend themselves well to use in different styles. There is nothing to stop you using congas like any other drum in your drumkit but with a completely different tone colour. Of course you can't thrash congas with drum sticks without going through the head. Another great colour is using marimba mallets on congas. This gives a wonderfully rich dark sound. Really experiment with them, congas IMHO are one of the best and most versatile of drums around.
I love using mallets on the kit..........
Yes you can make a sound on a conga with a mallet, you could also use a salmon or spatchulas by the same token you could screw a kick pedal to a guitar and get a "cool" sound but the former doesnt make you a conga player any more than the latter makes you a guitarist. studying any instrument is a lifetime pusuit but you can become a competent player of anything if your willing to put in some time. Congas are the most misused misunderstood insrument. until recently (last ten years) there wasnt much information widely available nor was there an accepted "method" and to learn you had to go to the park and pay your dues. But now thanks to the information age there is shitloads of information and method studies not to mention videos and no excuse not to learn some basic technique and a few tumboas if you have congas find a real player in your area and take a few lessons or at least grab a couple videos and learn to play correctly on what is probably the oldest tuned instrument on earth. for more info try marin cohens site http://www.congahead.com
Agreed. However, using mallets on Congas may not be an official technique used by authentic congueros but there are quite a number of pieces in the classical music repertoire that require the playing of congas with mallets.
We could start a substantial thread on this topic alone. I have heard a number of competant or highly competent conga players around the world but the only people that seem able to get the real authentic feel are those of latin american or cuban decent. Congas is one of those percussion instruments that require a lifetime of specialisation and to get the true authentic feel you have to have been brought up in that culture. Tabla is another classic example of this type of percussion instrument. I disagree that using mallets on congas is a misuse, it's an alternative use. Top congueros like Geovanni Hildago, themselves experiment with new techniques all the time. Although I've never spoken to Geo specifically about using mallets on congas I don't think he has any objections. The top players themselves generally seem much more open to new uses and methods on congas than do the western officionados who write and teach about congas.
Like most other types of drum, congas can be tuned. However, again like other drums, they are not considered a tuned percussion instrument. The oldest tuned instrument on earth is probably a variation of the marimba.
Greg, I assume your referring to modern "classical" compositions and your right they do lend themselves to experimentation such as the inclusion of congas and a host of other items that may be struck and considered percusion, this however is not conga playing. While its true that growing up in the culture is an undeniable advantage in learning to play the lack of that background does not prevent anyone willing to put in the time and effort from being an accomplished player. Learning to play congas well does require a dedication beyond what may be neccessary for main stream insruments but if the student is willing to spend the time and do whatever is needed (which may include travel) they can learn the instrument well, 90% of it is work like any other instrument the rest depends on how much one is willing to immerse themselves in learning the subleties and fortunately that is now possible without leaving the country. I have played with many non hispanic players who not only can play the insrument but get a lot of respect from their cuban and puerto rican peers.
Don't be silly :) It may not be authentic traditional style conga playing but it's still conga playing.
Up to a point I agree, things have moved on a lot in the last 10 or 20 years. It is now possible to become a very accomplished conguero without having to be brought up in Cuba. However, I personally have still not heard a non-latin player to compare with the best of the native congueros.
Greg, I hope your enjoying this as much as I am! Check out Snowboy,(one of about a zillion examples) listen as if you did not know he was not of an hispanic background and tell me honestly you can tell. I think hes from your side of the pond. I'll concede on the mallett playing and mabey the oldest instument on earth points but after a lifetime of studying and performing on congas my observation is that ethnic qualifications mean very little. This is a very disputed topic within the "conga" community and can really stir passions depending on whos discussing it but the proof is in the scores of recordings and performances of people of nonhispanic backgrounds who have devoted themselves to this instrument and music. We could fill a harddrive with examples that would defy anyone to divine what the backgrounds were or were not of the various players. If your referring to a specific style such as the Rumba of Cuba or the Bomba of Puerto Rico then you would have to exclude everyone from outside of those islands in each specific example. Its almost like saying that only blacks from the southern united states could play blues and you brits proved that was untrue.
yours in clave,rrrrrrrrrrrr
Agreed. The difference between native congueros has been gradually lessening over the last 10 years. I'm sure a point will come, or may already have been reached where, as you say there is no decernable difference. There are still a number of areas in the percussion world where this is not yet the case. Indian Tabla, Irish Bodhran, Indonesian Gamelan, etc.
Good thread, thanks,
BTW, I've never heard of Snowboy, who is he?
Greg, just type "snowboy" into your search engine there are a number of sites. If you like latin jazz (for lack of a better term) this guy and his band "the latin section" really burn. Theres always some good folklorico mixed in also.
Cheers, when I've got a few minutes I'll check him out.