Bongo History - Ten Bongo Facts

What's the origin... when, where... history and evolution of this instrument.

Postby Berimbau » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:37 pm

But NOT bonko and bongo!!



Saludos,




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Postby davidpenalosa » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:44 pm

exactly!
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Postby ralph » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:45 pm

i think the quinto and bonko connection are most apparent when you look at the rumba columbia in my opinion, but in all the rumba quinto and the bonko would be a similar comparison to the premier/redublé bongo de monte....now david, berimbau or others if you will, while we are on the subject of comparison, one to another, i was listening to the late Alfredo Rodriguez Cuba Linda album not too long ago and it struck me how similar tumba francesa is to the bomba de puerto rico, the cua and the cata are almost the same and even the sound strikes me as similar...does bomba have the same Haitiano influence that tumba has, or did tumba influence bomba directly? The terms grasimá, jubá are found in both forms



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Postby davidpenalosa » Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:21 pm

ralph wrote:... it struck me how similar tumba francesa is to the bomba de puerto rico, the cua and the cata are almost the same and even the sound strikes me as similar...does bomba have the same Haitiano influence that tumba has, or did tumba influence bomba directly?

I'm not aware of any direct connection between tumba francesa and bomba. You can find the basic rhythmic motifs of these rhythms throughout the Caribbean, Brazil and ultimately, Africa. Therefore, I believe one needs to look beyond the New World and back to Africa in order to understand these rhythm's origins.
-David
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Postby ralph » Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:37 pm

i thought this would be the case, i guess its back to the motherland, for some answers...they just sound too similar not to come from the same source

thanks
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Postby davidpenalosa » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:20 pm

Ralph,
In some cases, we can observe a clear evolution of rhythms. This is especially true with the rhythms found in popular music, where many of the innovators are still alive and are able to tell us how they created particular patterns or ensemble arrangements.

With folkloric rhythms though, it's more difficult to be certain which rhythm evolved from which rhythm. As I've stated here several times already, I'm convinced of a bonkó-quinto link. To me, the connection between the batá rhythms chachalokuafun and ñongo and the bembé/agbe system is self evident. I believe the evidence of a possible tumba francesa-changüí connection is more tenuous, but definitely worth consideration.

I think we need to be careful not to assume two rhythms are directly related because they share the same basic rhythmic motif. I believe there are probally no more than a dozen basic motifs found in the music of sub-Saharan Africa. These motifs are spread across a large geographical area encompassing different linguistic groups. Therefore, just because you hear a motif in the Congo does not mean that a Cuban or Puerto Rican rhythm based on the same motif nessesarily comes from that part of Africa.

Analysis of African-based rhythms has been contradictory and fragmented. There is no comprehensive study of Afro-Cuban rhythmic motifs, let alone a comparative study of the music of sub-Saharan Africa and its New World descendants.
-David




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Postby oneleven1 » Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:32 pm

.does bomba have the same Haitiano influence that tumba has, or did tumba influence bomba directly? The terms grasimá, jubá are found in both forms

Interesting that you ask. Bomba and Tumba Francesa, rather than sharing any substantial direct link, both have drawn some of the same historical influnces. The essential similarity derives from a common legacy of Haitian immigration. Bomba has developed for centuries, as the result of the interplay of various african and afro-american cultures, as well as european forms, in the context of a very diverse and heterogenous Puerto Rican popular society.
The prime and unifying influence on Afro Boricua culture was of West Central Africa, as throughout many other new world slave societies. There was also a large and sustained contribution of people from the Lesser Antilles, especially the French or French influenced islands, as well as Dutch Curacao.
And, indeed, there were widespread and critical contributions of Haitians, both from slaves and free people of color, on bomba, and Puerto Rican culture as a whole (One need only look into Puerto Rican folk religion - e.g, Sance, Espiritismo - where figures like Papa Legba, Ogun, Guede, El Negro Haitiano, La Madama Francesita, etc. show up, to understand how deeply Haiti has influenced P.R.) Immigration from Haiti primarily occured during and directly following the Haitian revolution, and as in Eastern Cuba, fleeing plantation owners, their slaves, as well as free people of color, had a large and decisive impact on the development of the sugar plantation society, which in both islands reached it's peak of devleopment very late in the history of Carribean slavery. Cuba, though, continued to recieve large numbers of Haitian immigrants as free workers on it's sugar plantations during the 20th century. Though, I suppose, one could make the argument that the further impact of Haitian culture on P.R. has continued, both in direct and mediated form, with the large movement of Dominicans to the island in the past few decades.
Way, way back in the day, a distinctly Boricua dialect of Kreyol Ayisyen was spoken widely amongst people of color, and a number of Boricuas still speak this old language, called El Frances Patua. Much of the terminology in bomba derives from Kreyol, as do many old song lyrics.
E.g:
Esa, esa dominé
Esa, esa dominé
Esa, esa dominé
Mi salvatore de vivan mwen...

Vole, vole piomba
Vole, vole dansa!

The term yuba (juba) is common term that pops up in many different american locales, and can refer to very dissimilar genres - e.g. the patting juba of the U.S. Though, it is interesting to note that one of the rhythms of tumba francesa is masón, and one of the variants of bomba yuba is called yuba mason...
The forms and names of the instruments used in bomba bear a marked resemblance to those in tumba francesa.
The drums are very similar in terms of overall form and sound. In the northern and western areas of PR, the traditional tuning sytem for bombas was the cunya, which is the same system as found on the tumbas.
Image
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The drum that maintains the rythm is called boula in tumba francesa, and is commonly called bula or buleador in bomba. Drum that speaks and interacts with the dancers is called premier in tumba francesa, and commonly called primo in bomba. And the struck wooden idiophone that maintains the overall stability of the rythm is called cata in cuba, and cuá in bomba. Now, there are many divergent aspects between these two genres - e.g. although the drums that execute similar roles carry essentially the same names, their respective sonic characters and sizes are inversed - these isn't really the time or place to properly delve into a comparison. One thing to note was the existence of Dahomean institutions in Cuba - Cabildos Arará - which perhaps served to reinforce the Dahomean espects of haitian culture, whereas in PR the influnce of Kongo/Angola was more dominant. One should note as well that in the northwest of PR, where haitian influence was particularly strong, the term tumba was used in the past instead of bomba.
Bomba also is very similar to other heavily congo derived forms from across the carribean. As an example, bomba instrumentation, musical feel, and song form are very similar to Jamaican kumina.
Indeed, bomba music and dance closely resemble in many ways that of guadelupeen gwoka, as well as a number of other similar styles, like the various belairs and bambulas of the lesser antilles. Belé and bambulae are, of course, names of bomba rhythms, and one of the 6/8 rhthyms from Loiza is rulé, as compared to the woule of gwoka. In the southern coast of PR, one of the traditional tuning techniques is the torniquete, which is identical to the gwoka...
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Postby tamboricua » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:36 pm

Oneleven1,

Great stuff mi hermano! Bro, you are a walking encyclopedia.

When you get a chance can you please elaborate on the Yuba Mason variant and the Rulé from Loiza?

I'm familiar with their Seis Corrido and Corve.

Saludos,

Jorge Ginorio
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Postby zaragenca » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:30 pm

greeting to all the brother,I would like to point out that one of the Arara/pattern is the root of,(Bomba,(in Puerto Rico),,...A caballo,(in Cuba),..Socka,(in the Caribbean),..Punta,(in Honduras)),..Merengue,(in Dominican Republic),I have showed the Arara/root pattern in my percussion/class, and all the caribbeans links...The incorporation and mixing of pattern also took place,(in great amount in Cuba), through the immigration of thousends of Jamaicans,Haitians ,Puerto Ricans to Cuba as sesonal workers for the Sugar Mills ,since 1912,(specially the consention which was granted to foreign/owners of sugar/mills to bring them),some of them stayed over,but during some of the cuban/strikes,and workers/fight for better condition and salaries,the cuban authorities deported many of them back to their countries,but still a lot of them got lost within the population and we called in Cuba ,'Pichones' to their childrens which are been born in Cuba.,The immigration to Cuba was not isolated to the caribbean,there was extensive European immigration to Cuba and arabians,Turkies,,Chinese,etc.Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby oneleven1 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:17 am

tamboricua wrote:Oneleven1,

Great stuff mi hermano! Bro, you are a walking encyclopedia.

When you get a chance can you please elaborate on the Yuba Mason variant and the Rulé from Loiza?

I'm familiar with their Seis Corrido and Corve.

Saludos,

Jorge Ginorio

I apologize for the tardiness of my reply, but I have indeed been busy...
Yubá Mason is a variant of yubá which is associated with Mayaguez and the movement of bomba practicioners from Mayaguez to the San Juan/Santurce area... My point in siting it was to highlight the connections between eastern Cuba and western P.R. via Haiti, where the concept or use of the term "Mason" (as associated with Freemason societies in Europe and the Americas) was naturally associated with African derived secret societies, principally from central west Africa (e.g. Lemba in Haiti and Yombe/Zombi in P.R.)
As for rulé - there is dispute within the bomba community as to whether rulé refers to a specific seis of bomba from Loiza, or simply is a variant of corvé (which itself I believe to be derived from the island-wide yubá complex) associated with the song "Rulé, Rulé Son Da". Rule (pronounced "woule") is a Kreyól word meaning redoble, or roll, and is naturally associated with the act of buleando, or executing the cyclic rhythmic patterns (buleos) that characterize bomba (and refer to the act of playing the drum in many songs/recordings that I have heard from the lesser Antilles - Martinique, Guadelupe, Trinidad, St. Lucia... just to underscore bomba as part of a larger pan-Caribbean drum/dance culture based on primarily west central African aesthetics, and the use of the goatskinned, barrel made drum of Kongo derivation that characterizes Puerto Rico and much of the rest of the circum-carribean basin...)
My opinion weighs towards the later, as opposed to the former theory, which fits into my overall understanding of bomba in Loiza.
But this is supposed to have been a thread on the history of bongos, and I apologize for hijacking it - let me know if you want to start a conversation on bomba here somewhere...




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Postby zaragenca » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:29 pm

Oneleven1,I'm just glad that you mentioned Loiza,P.R.,(I did spend three weeks working there and eating homemade food),I also visited,Humacao,Rio Piedra,Toa Alta,Toa Baja,Canovanas,El Viejo San Juan,El Nuevo San Juan,Carolina, and Isla Verde.Dr. Zaragemca
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Postby yambu321 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:41 pm

ONELEVEN1,

VERY, VERY, IMPRESSIVE. NICE!!! :;):

CHARLIE "EL COQUI" VERDEJO




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Re: Bongo History - Ten Bongo Facts

Postby bongosnotbombs » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:08 pm

Ekue and Bongo
Ekue, also called Bongo Ekue, is the single-headed friction drum sacred to
Abakua whose sound imitates a leopard roar. Ekue is revealed only to specific
titled elders-it is heard, but not seen, by others. Ortiz wrote, "The
Ekue is an instrumentum regni (Ortiz 1955:236). Its "bull roarer" sound
emerging from the famba temple is the signal that divine contact has been
made, and that all other ceremonial activity may commence. Another
Cuban drum is called bongo. It is a secular, double-headed drum of Kongo
origin, and came to Havana with son music from Oriente Province in the
early 1900s. It apparently came with the name bongo if so, the name is
a marvelous coincidence, because there is no known historical relation
between the secular bongo drum used in early Cuban son music and the
divine Bongo Ekue. Bongo is rather a general term used throughout the
Bantu territory, which extends up to Old Calabar. Still, the secular bongo
can be manipulated to recreate both the roar of the Bongo Ekue as well as
the rhythmic pulsations of the bonko enchemiya drum also used in Abakua
ceremony.
Several important secular bongo players and other musicians in early
Havana son groups were Abakua members. In the 1928 recording of
"Donde estas corazon," the Abakua member Agustin Gutierrez of Sexteto
Habanero simulates (using a technique called "glissade") the roar of Ekue
on his bongo (Sexteto Habanero 1995b). In a 1928 recording under the
direction of Abakua member Ignacio Pineiro (1888-1969), bongocero Jose
Manuel Incharte "El Chino" clearly imitates the roar of the Ekue fundamento
(Sexteto Nacional1993).
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