Conga Drum Fever hand technique book for conga players.

Conga Drum Fever

by Kenne Thomas
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Binding:Spiral bound for easy stand layout
Pages:114 with drum illustrations, rhythm patterns and more
Size:8 1/2" X 11" / 21.6 cm X 27.9 cm
Price:$21.95 + Shipping

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Kenne conguero y bongocero

This book helps address the issue facing many conga drummers. That is using both hands equally. The book has 100s of patterns, exercises and examples to develop your hand dexterity on a conga drum. With practice more drums can be included using the patterns in the various sections of the book. Included is cultural and historic information on hands drums related to conga drumming. A section on the Clave is also presented, supporting its focus in musica latina. Click here to view selected pages from the book.

Conga Drumming, los Tambores

The origin of the Conga is believed to have been with the Bantu people in the great Congo basin of West Africa. It was developed into the instrument we know today by the descendants of slaves brought to the plantations in Cuba. It is interesting to note that the name, Conga actually does not refer to the instrument but to the the dance which the drum is used for. The name given to the instrument in Espanol (Spanish) the language spoken in Cuba is, Tumbadora. All of the Conga drums, which we know and speak of in musical dialogue are various sizes of Tumbadoras. As the term conga has taken on a commercially generic recognition it is used here with qualification.

Although originally hand constructed, as were their African predecessors, modern drums are machine tooled. Early drums were not uniformly made. Today conga drum sizes are 11 inches (approximately 28 centimeters), 11 3/4 inches (29.85 cm.), and 12 1/2 inches (31.75 cm.) in head diameter. There is an agreed upon standard for the height of 30 inches (76.2 cm.). This affords a comfortable disposition when you sit to play. They are now machine mechanism tuned by tension rods. Ascending in sizes from small to large the drums, los tumbadoras, have recognized names which also identify their tonal ranges; high to low.

    • Nino (The smallest size drum, used in Puerto Rico)
    • Quinto (also a smaller head drum, called Requinto)
    • Llamador (Another name for the Quinto. It is known as the "caller" or "shouter.")
    • Salidor (A larger drum. Often called a conga.)
    • Conga (Generic name used in the U.S. and other countries for Cuban drums like the Salidor.)
    • Tumbadora (Also called by the shortened name, Tumba)
    • Mombiza (Mombisa, or Mambiza) (A large Tumba style drum)

Technique, Tecnica

The Conga player is known as the Conguero, or Congacero. They are the master of the instrument. The drummer must know how to use the many different playing maneuvers on the various sizes and how to draw the sounds out of the Conga. The conga player executes rhythms like the Tumbao, the repeated flexible conga drum rhythm pattern. Although this is a general term for conga, or Tumbadora rhythms it is usually associated with a particular rhythmic pattern and handing.

Notation, Anotacion

The method for playing the Conga drum has three basic sounds and also a conga specific hand maneuver. Good hand facility on a conga drum requires the ability to play all of these tones:
    • Bass (Bajo)
    • Open (Abierto)
    • Slap (Batido, also called Tapado)
    • Heel - Toe (Manoteo)

  • Chapter on the lineage of the conga and associated drums.
  • Conga Drum exercises to gain facility and dexterity.
  • Rhythm patterns emphasizing the major tones, techniques and effects on a conga.
  • Notable Caribbean and Latin rhythm motifs. A list of rhythms and their origins.
  • Chapter on the Clave. Chapter on Jazz conga drumming.
  • Recommended recorded listening list featuring conga drumming.

Conga Drum Fever Selected Pages

Click on a page to enlarge it for reading.

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Mail to: Kenzongs Music
2365 Dale St. N. 107
Roseville, Minnesota 55113-4562

For information contact Kenne Thomas
Tel/Fax: 651.494.9309

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Book cover designed by Barbara Lyman at Alternative Designs
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