Conga Time!

Posted: December 2, 2012 in rants
Tags: , , , , , ,
CP Quinto drum, taken with LG MS770 cell phone/camera, edited with Paper Camera software.

CP Quinto drum, taken with LG MS770 cell phone/camera, edited with Paper Camera software.

So, today I got to play at church again. Good times. I didn’t play that drum, however. I played these:

Meinl Headliner series 10" and 11" quintos, shot with LG MS770 cell phone/camera and edited with Paper Camera software.

Meinl Headliner series 10″ and 11″ quintos, shot with LG MS770 cell phone/camera and edited with Paper Camera software.

When I first learned to play congas, I mean really play them and not just beat them into submission, I was in college. The music department had a pair of worn-out Gon Bops from the ’70s, I think. They were rough on your hands, the shells were cracked and the heads were almost charcoal grey from years of misuse. Getting a decent tone on them was a challenge, even for a pro like my teacher. That’s why he had his own shiny set of LPs. So did another student – a brilliant percussionist who managed to make the most complicated rhythms look like he just stumbled into them. I was a guitar player, infatuated with the fact that drummers got to play drum set one day, xylophone the next, steel pan the day after that, and tympani every other Thursday. When I switched majors to percussion, they gave me these:

Claves. Your music teacher will tell you that they are the glue that holds the whole ensemble together. Yeah, right.

Claves. Your music teacher will tell you that they are the glue that holds the whole ensemble together. Yeah, right.

 

If you can keep a pattern on them, while everyone else is playing quadratic equations and differentials around you, you’re doing good. It’s definitely a Kwai-Chang Kane moment. I couldn’t wait to get my own drums, brand new shiny LPs with glittering chrome hardware and matching bags. I thought I was The Man(tm).

Till I saw this kid with some super – beginner type, no-name brand “X” drums he pulled out of a pair of army surplus duffel bags, and proceeded to play some serious, jaw dropping  grooves.

From that point. I decided to learn to play the hell outtta whatever I had in my hands at any given moment. Drums, tables, books, my girlfriend, whatev.

Anyway, all this is to say that I haven’t been playing my congas in a while; it was very rewarding to play a basic tumbao on them again. (Tumbao is the rhythm you hear congas playing in, oh, “Oye Como Va” or this song (“Viva Cepeda”) It’s a great rhythm to play, feels nice under your hands.

If you’re a drummer, my advice is to Keep Playing.

 

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved

Advertisements
Comments
  1. sakuraandme says:

    I love music! When you feel crap does playing make you forget things? I would imagine it would! How cool to be able to play so many things! I stopped playing piano younger as nerves would always take over playing in front of people. I still have a piano but don’t play it! *laughing* My son mucks around from time to time, but that’s it. He’s 20……Paula x

  2. […] Conga Time! (getbusyyall.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s