Conga Drum Facts

Conga Drum Facts
The conga drum is a musical instrument from the percussion family. It is a single head drum that originated in Africa but became famous after they were included in Cuban music. In the 1930s the conga drum gained much attention when Latin music became popular across the U.S. in a combination of Cuban son style and New York jazz style music referred to as mambo or salsa as it later became known as. The conga line - a special dance in which a long line of people dance - also helped to popularize the conga drum. Desi Arnaz - a Cuban-born actor and musician who is most well-known for being Ricky Ricardo on the TV show I Love Lucy - was instrumental in making the conga drum a household name in the United States.
Interesting Conga Drum Facts:
In Cuba the conga drum is referred to as tumbadoras and the conga drummer is referred to as a conguero.
The conga drum is a tall drum that is narrow and it is often played while sitting in base (tripod).
Conga drums are often made from wood or fiberglass and have a drum head with screws for tuning.
Conga drums are often played in sets of two to four but are not attached like bongo drums with a bridge.
The conguero plays the conga drums with their fingers and the palms of their hands and some use drum sticks or mallets but this method is less common.
There are five main strokes that congueros use when playing the conga drums. These include the open tone, muffled or mute tone, bass tone, slap tone, and the touch tone.
The ricardo is the smallest conga and has the highest pitch, followed by the requinto, quinto, conga, the tumba; and the supertumba is the largest size conga drum and it also has the lowest pitch.
Cubans often refer to the conga drum as the tumbadora, which is the largest size of the conga drum when played in a set.
In a conga line, the dancers following the conguero are referred to as rumberos.
Some of the most famous music that incorporates the conga marcha includes Conga by Miami Sound Machine, Oye Como Va by Tito Puente, Virus by Bamboleo, and Watermelon Man by Mongo Santamaria.
Cuban music is not the only style of music to incorporate the conga drum. It is also used in Dominican music, Colombian, Brazilian, reggae, funk, country, and samba music.
When conga drums are being used as purely a percussion instrument they do not require tuning to a specific note. When played as part of the harmony in music they must be properly tuned to specific notes.
Famous conga drum players come from a variety of countries including the U.S., Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and even Holland.
In Cuba the tradition of playing the conga drums is passed from one generation to the next.
The conga drum can be heard in a variety of Latin music styles today including salsa, Cuban jazz, merengue, songo, Latin rock and descarga.

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