ARGENTINIAN RHYTHMS Zamba & Chacarera
This article highlights two very popular 6/8 rhythms
found in Argentina; the zamba and the chacarera. As
explained in SIX EIGHTH RHYTHMS An Introduction (Drumscene issue 4 Dec/Jan 1995/96 p34) what all these rhythms have in
common is that the pulse is felt in exactly the same way. If you
count in 6/8 the 'pulse' (or your foot) will be on beats 1 and 4.
Practice the following exercises by:
a) Clapping all the notes while
tapping your foot on beats 1 and 4
b) Tapping 'hand to hand style'
(R L R L R L) while tapping your foot on beats 1 and 4. It is important
to count throughout.
The zamba and chacarera are two
popular rhythms that incorporate guitars, voices and an Argentinian drum
known as bombo, which is a double headed
drum popular throughout the Andean region. The drum is an adaptation
of European field drums and like its predecessors it makes use of leather
hoops, thongs and ear loops to tension the skins. The drum is made
out of a hollowed out tree trunk, carefully chiselled inside. The
skins are usually cowhide or lamb and they retain some of the animal's
fur giving it a very mellow, deep sound. The drum is traditionally
played with a stick in the right hand and a mallet in the left hand (in
some areas this is reversed) which strike both the skin and the rim of
the drum. If a bombo drum is nit available, you could try this rhythms on a floor tom by playing
the rim or the side of the tom with a stick in the right hand and the skin
of the tom with a mallet in left hand.
One of the outstanding exponents of these styles
is without doubt the master percussionist Domingo Cura. Any recordings
featuring Domingo are highly recommended. The following is a starting
list for anyone interested in Andean styles:
Flutes, Guitares Et Chants D'Argentine - ARN 64074
Canto De Pueblos Andinos - Monitor MCD
La Nueva Cancion Chilena - Monitor MCD
▪ Misa Criolla
Ariel Ramirez (w/Domingo Cura) - Phillips 6527
Facundo Ramirez (w/Domingo Cura) - Milan Sur
▪ Mercedes Sosa
Gracias A La Vida (w/Domingo Cura) - Phillips
Live In Europe - Tropical Music 68.936
For further information on the bombo including an audio sample please click here.
© Alex Pertout. All rights reserved. No part of this article
may be reproduced, without the prior written permission from the author. This article was first published in Drumscene magazine.