Inside the conga

Changuito and Giovanni

Evolution Of The Tumbadoras

Everywhere on earth music flows from the human voice and the drum.

In Cuba, with its long and direct connections to Central Africa’s incomparable polyrhythmic virtuosity, the drums take on an especially prominent role.

The bass, the piano, even the horns have at their aesthetic root the sophisticated sounds and rhythms produced by Cuba’s percussionists.

Contrast this with northern music (Europe and North America), where drummers, percussionists, and even the issue of rhythm itself tends to be shunted to the back of the bandstand.

As a result of this hierarchical skewing, the details of drumming appear far off the radar for the person trained with a northern ear, if in fact they make it onto the radar screen at all.

Your appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of Cuban music will grow massively as you learn what the congueros (conga players) are doing and how they produce their magical sounds.

In this video two masters talk shop.

Dig in.

If you love music, I can guarantee that watching and re-watching this video will change your ear for the better and produce a lifetime of enjoyment that will surprise and delight you.

Note: The conversation is in Spanish. Reading the well produced subtitles makes for an excellent and enjoyable Spanish lesson.


This masterpiece of educational video, “Evolution of the Tumbadoras”, was produced in 1996 in New York City by a company called DCI Music Videos.

The two percussionists are Changuito (José Luis Quintana) and Giovanni Hidalgo.

Giovanni Hidalgo was born on November 22, 1963 in San Juan Puerto Rico to a musical family. His father José Manuel Hidalgo “Mañengue” was a renowned conga player.

In 1981 he traveled to Cuba as a member the Batacumbele Band where he met Changuito and 15 years later the fruit of that relationship was captured by this video.

MORE: Giovanni Hidalgo demonstrates the rudiments of conga training

Jazz on the Tube has an entire section devoted Cuba and its music.

Details here: Jazz on the Tube – Cuba

Want more insight into Cuban jazz?

Join the Cuban insight list:

<script async="" src="//"></script><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><!-- responsive below text --><ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display: block;" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6806835162578064" data-ad-slot="3845901003" data-ad-format="auto"></ins> <script><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --></script>