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CONGA IMPROVISATION Ramon 'Mongo' Santamaria Style
This article continues to document the enormous legacy and contribution of Mr Ramon 'Mongo' Santamaria to the world of percussion and in particular conga drums. This time I am presenting an excerpt from a solo he takes on a version of Naked from his Live At Yankee Stadium release of 1974 [Vaya Records – XVS 26] re-released in 1992 on cd by the German company 'Third' [33332].

Find the recording and then work slowly on the material presented. At first by developing each single phrase, then by practising two or four bar phrases, and finally by working putting together the entire solo. The material presented here as played by Santamaria contains some of the most popular phrases you will ever hear on conga drums, a legacy of Santamaria’s style as arguably the most influential player in the history of the instrument. It also features his first rate execution of off-beats and displaced crotchet triplet figures. Make sure to also further develop by taking time to work on all the material presented here at different tempi.

conga legend:  O=Open Tone   S=Slap





For further information and some conga patterns please refer to the following articles CLAVE CONCEPTS Afro-Cuban Rhythms, CLAVE CONCEPTS Tito Puente's Para Los Rumberos, GUAGUANCO Afro-Cuban Rumba, BOMBA Afro-Puerto Rican Treasure and MOZAMBIQUE The Manny Oquendo Touch.


© Alex Pertout. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission from the author. This article was first published in Drumscene magazine.


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