Historical help - History of certain hand drums

... post here historical info of any other musical instrument non specified in the above forum (suggest here to open a new forum!)..

Postby Bill Losh » Fri Feb 22, 2002 5:03 pm

I am giving a short course on certain hand drums to some eleven and twelve year olds. I like to give accurate info were possible but as many have seen info varies from person to person. Does anyone know of a site that gives relatively correct historical info on the origin of these four drums. Bata, bongo, conga, and most important because I have the least amount of info the tamborra (Dominican).
I was told by an older Cuban fellow that the bongo actually originated from plantation owners cutting the cerimonial Bata drums in half to discourage the religion of the slaves. Is this accurate or just folklore?
I probably have enough info on Bata and Conga, but if someone could help me out with Bongo and Tambora I would appreciate it. History is not my strong point. Thanks
Bill Losh
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 2:49 pm
Location: Central Florida, USA

Postby Mike » Sat Feb 23, 2002 8:01 am

As far as BONGOS are concerned, Trevor Salloum has some thorough background information on their history in his book "Beyond the Basics -Bongo Drumming" (MelBay).
If I´ve got more time, I can write down the most important pieces of information for you.
I don´t the bit about cutting batas, but I think it´s really difficult to gain reliable information on percussion instruments, apart from some spots here and there.(Rebecca Mauléon had a good article on the clave, e.g., and its musical, cultural/historical meanings).
Peace & drum
User avatar
Mike
 
Posts: 2159
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2001 6:00 pm
Location: Germany

Postby Bill Losh » Sun Feb 24, 2002 5:26 pm

Thanks Mike. I've been able to get enough info searching the web.
I would be interested if anyone else has heard that bongo-bata story. It seemed possible, just not sure how probable. Any of the old guard care to comment? What the heck, folklore can be more fun than facts as long as we don't confuse the two.
Bill Losh
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 2:49 pm
Location: Central Florida, USA

Postby limberic » Thu Feb 28, 2002 1:18 am

Hi Bill -

I can't give you any information directly but you should try to chase down:

Dr. Joseph H. Howard. Drums in the Americas.
Oak Publications - New York. 1967 - LOC 67-15826.

As I remember, Howard was from Venezuela and was of mixed blood (African-American, East Indian, European). I think he was a dentist or medical doctor (?) but he collected something like over 700 drums in his lifetime. He carried the drum fever, too.

He made strong connections with Ortiz, a Cuban anthropologist and a pioneer in Afro-Cuban studies, who brought the African origins of Cuban music to the world's attention with his 30 books and his lifetime of work for social justice.

Howard's book is really unique, and will tell you things you can find no where else. It is EXTREMELY informative (luckily, the local univeristy has a copy that I've read). Maybe it will help you, too.

The Smithsonian Institute ran an exhibit of a few of his drums in 2000 (I think). Here is a link to the Smithsonian exhibit:
http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/smithso....00.html

Marin Cohen, LP Percussion, has pictures of some of Howard's drums, too.

Best Regards,
Eric
Eric
User avatar
limberic
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2001 12:28 am
Location: Pocatello, ID

Postby JohnnyConga » Fri Mar 22, 2002 11:22 pm

:D I have the book by Dr. Howard. I knew him personally in Los Angeles and played at his opening in West Hollywood in 1980. So if there is anything historical you would like to know, I may be able to help. Bongos, in conception are "modeled" after clay drums from Morrocco. The Afro-Cubans out of necessity "invented" Congas-bongos and Timbales, which came from French Tympanis circa 1880's. Also "Cajones" which they "invented" on the docks of Havana and Matanza SeaPorts.,playing during their lunch hour. At your Service...JC JOHNNY CONGA..... ;)
User avatar
JohnnyConga
 
Posts: 3825
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 7:58 pm
Location: Ft. Lauderdale,Fl/Miami

Postby timo » Sun Mar 24, 2002 6:42 am

I dont if this helps with the origin of drums, but at least you get tons of rhythms :

http://w3.iac.net/~moonweb/Drumming/TOC.html

(unfortunately their all in tab format :( )
AXÉ

timo
User avatar
timo
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2001 2:38 pm
Location: London, UK

Postby JohnnyConga » Wed Jul 03, 2002 3:43 pm

:D Hi Bill there is a possibility of bongos coming from the idea of "cut up" bata drums, but I find it hardly likely. Slaves were brought from mostly West Africa, and with them memories of their culture. I would have to assume some slaves had come from the Morrocon region of Africa as well,where "clay drums" are the norm. There by "creating" bongos out of wood from there memories of the 'clay drums". The Tambora is a typical "African drum",barrel shaped and played with stick,how it wound up in the Dominican Republic as part of their culture is open to discussion. Hope this helps...At your Service...JC JOHNNY CONGA.... ;)
User avatar
JohnnyConga
 
Posts: 3825
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 7:58 pm
Location: Ft. Lauderdale,Fl/Miami

Postby zaragemca » Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:21 pm

Greeting to Bill Losh,the story of cutting drums to avoid the drumming of slave's in religion doesn't cut the true,(when the Spanish authority were prohibiting the use of drumming,they didn't cut the drums,they took the drums away with them),there are pictures of some of the officials at that time showing the drums confiscated...the small drums used for the bongos were resamblece of the one used for the Carabalies,(Abbakuas),in their ceremonies,being this group one of the participants in the integration and modifications which took place in the afrocuban percussion history,they incorporated this features into the music,(originaly one/drum),and later the binding of the two drums to articulate differents pitches and riffs,(there is a picture of one of the pioneer Andres Sotolongo,still young and playing with a single/squared/bongo...The Bata origing is in the Yorubas drummers of Africa where notbody but the Yorubas knew how to make them...The original concept of the Congas are from the Bantu civilization but the curve/shape, the binding of the skin to the body and later the incorporation of the Tuning Rod System,all happened in Cuba....To brother JC., the drums have been in Africa,(not in the actual african form,but more rustic),before the first Arabic/Semitic groups would come to Africa throug the Egyptian connection and started setting in North Africa.Dr. Zaragemca



Edited By zaragemca on 1142972127
International Club of Percussionists
zaragemca
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2003 11:18 pm
Location: Houston,Texas

Postby SkinDeep » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:40 pm

THKS FOR THE LINK TIMO
MOFORIBALE AL TAMBO!!!
User avatar
SkinDeep
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:58 pm
Location: Georgia

Postby Facundo » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:28 pm

Guest wrote:Thanks Mike. I've been able to get enough info searching the web.
I would be interested if anyone else has heard that bongo-bata story. It seemed possible, just not sure how probable. Any of the old guard care to comment? What the heck, folklore can be more fun than facts as long as we don't confuse the two.

Hey Bill,

"Old guard" here, I'm 60 years old and have been involved with Yoruba religious practices the better part of my life with initiations in the Lucumi of Cuba and in Nigeria. In additon to being a live long student of the liturgical music. Johnny C and Z are absolutely right. Bongos not derive from batas being cut in half. They did come from the Muslim slaves taken to Cuba. The best info source would be thhe works of Fernando Ortiz if you can find them. Check out "Los Instrumentos de Los Afrocubano" a five volume study on the slave instraments of Cuba. Also, " La Africania de La Musica Cubana".

Facundo
Facundo
Facundo
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:53 pm
Location: Philadelphia PA

Postby Berimbau » Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:17 pm

I completely disagree with much of the "recieved wisdom" regarding the history of the Cuban bongo. First of all, the name bongo is certainly derived from KiKongo, Mbundu, or another Bantu language. However, this drum is not found in the traditional organology of the Kongo/Anolan region. So where did it come from?
The Yoruba? The bata cut in half theory is precisely this - Half baked!! No doubt this is based on an anomolous turn of the century bata drum with metal tuning hardware discovered by Ortiz. No connection here!
Is it Abakua? The connection with the bonku or ANY OTHER Abakua drum is simply not true. Just conjecture and poor linguistic quess work.
Even worse now is the supposed connection between the Cuban bongo and the so-called Moroccan bongos. These North African earthenware drums are actually known as tbila in Arabic, not as "bongo." Although some Muslim slaves did certainly come to Cuba, they were by far a minority group, especially as compared to their presence in the US or Brasilian slave trade.
Now I doubt if ANY Moroccan slaves were ever exported to Cuba! In fact, the actual slave trade route was from Mali TO Morocco. It was this internal slave trade to Morocco which accounts for the presence of the Gnoua peoples, they are descended from those Malian slaves.
Although larger double lace drums like the copper or brass naqquara have been present in North Africa for centuries, the earthenware tbila are not related to them. The naqqara were stick or mallet beaten large drums designed to be played in Royal courts. Slightly smaller versions were used in the miitary lplayed either on horseback or camelback. In any event, the tbila of contemporary Morocco is by no means an ancient instrument, and may even be DERIVED FROM the Cuban bongo.
I believe that an actual 19th century CUBAN precursor to the Bongo is mentioned in Estaban Montejo's "Autobiography of a Runaway Slave." I believe this drum was created to fullfill a need in Cuban popular music for a lower dynamic hand drum that would bring in the sabor of Africa into changui and the son. Because the drum was CUBAN, it was somewhat more sociolgicaly acceptable than the larger, more threatening conga. Remember, the tumbadoras were not even used in popular Cuban orchestras until the late 1930's. Now why nobody seems to trust the great creativity of the Cuban people to create an original musical instrument is beyond me! The real beauty of the bongo is that it is an Afro-CUBAN drum, emphasis on the CUBAN, please!!
Last year before Katrina sucked my enormous library into the Gulf of Mexico, I had posted something on this very subject on the Bongo Page. If anyone knows those editors, please have them forward it here.


Saludos,



Berimbau
.
User avatar
Berimbau
 
Posts: 356
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:09 am
Location: Asheville, N.C.

Postby Facundo » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:01 pm

Berimbau wrote:I completely disagree with much of the "recieved wisdom" regarding the history of the Cuban bongo. First of all, the name bongo is certainly derived from KiKongo, Mbundu, or another Bantu language. However, this drum is not found in the traditional organology of the Kongo/Anolan region. So where did it come from?
The Yoruba? The bata cut in half theory is precisely this - Half baked!! No doubt this is based on an anomolous turn of the century bata drum with metal tuning hardware discovered by Ortiz. No connection here!
Is it Abakua? The connection with the bonku or ANY OTHER Abakua drum is simply not true. Just conjecture and poor linguistic quess work.
Even worse now is the supposed connection between the Cuban bongo and the so-called Moroccan bongos. These North African earthenware drums are actually known as tbila in Arabic, not as "bongo." Although some Muslim slaves did certainly come to Cuba, they were by far a minority group, especially as compared to their presence in the US or Brasilian slave trade.
Now I doubt if ANY Moroccan slaves were ever exported to Cuba! In fact, the actual slave trade route was from Mali TO Morocco. It was this internal slave trade to Morocco which accounts for the presence of the Gnoua peoples, they are descended from those Malian slaves.
Although larger double lace drums like the copper or brass naqquara have been present in North Africa for centuries, the earthenware tbila are not related to them. The naqqara were stick or mallet beaten large drums designed to be played in Royal courts. Slightly smaller versions were used in the miitary lplayed either on horseback or camelback. In any event, the tbila of contemporary Morocco is by no means an ancient instrument, and may even be DERIVED FROM the Cuban bongo.
I believe that an actual 19th century CUBAN precursor to the Bongo is mentioned in Estaban Montejo's "Autobiography of a Runaway Slave." I believe this drum was created to fullfill a need in Cuban popular music for a lower dynamic hand drum that would bring in the sabor of Africa into changui and the son. Because the drum was CUBAN, it was somewhat more sociolgicaly acceptable than the larger, more threatening conga. Remember, the tumbadoras were not even used in popular Cuban orchestras until the late 1930's. Now why nobody seems to trust the great creativity of the Cuban people to create an original musical instrument is beyond me! The real beauty of the bongo is that it is an Afro-CUBAN drum, emphasis on the CUBAN, please!!
Last year before Katrina sucked my enormous library into the Gulf of Mexico, I had posted something on this very subject on the Bongo Page. If anyone knows those editors, please have them forward it here.


Saludos,



Berimbau

Brimbau,

Sorry to have offened with the "received wisdom". You should first know that there no one who has greater admiration for the preservation, amalgamation and inovation of the African asthetic by the Cubans than myself. The full social and cultrual impact of slavery as it relates to the African has yet to be fully studied. We need to also understand that before "we" speculate on topics such as this that there was also an on-going disruptive social dynamic taking place in the various areas that slave were being removed from for a very long time prior to their forced exportation. This is a very complex subject with a great deal to be factored into the mix. Many of the critical facts are more than likely lost completely. That being the case, a definitive answer may imposible to give by anyone.

You make a very strong argument that may be correct. However, before you discount the Islamic slave influence on the Afro-Cuban culture, there are prevailing elements to be considered. Why is it that the salutaion of Salam Alakum exist in the Cuban Palo religion. Was this something that came about in Cuba or is it residual from the interaction of Arabic traders before the Atlantic slave trade began? Remember the Muslims were the "first" slave traders. Inside of Lucumi (Yoruba) of Cuba there is a ceremony called "Nangare" which also has an Islamic origin. Again, was this a Cuban addition or residual before the Atlanic slave trade? I have even heard Islamic Africans clap clave in their music! Did clave in Cuba come from these Africans? Did it come from the Spanish who were ruled by the Moors from many years and then come to Cuba? Or was clave a rediscovery by the Afro-Cubans themselves? Adding clave to particular parts of bata tratados was certainly a Cuban inovation.

My point is that it is not conclusively impossible or improbable that bongos had an Muslim slave origin either directly within Cuba or indirectly outside of Cuba. Bongos may also be a Cuban inovation. Again, who's to say?

Facundo
Facundo
Facundo
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:53 pm
Location: Philadelphia PA

Postby zaragemca » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:39 pm

Well I could place many of the dots in the right place to disipate the confusion..First the slave trade in Africa wasn't started with the Muslims,but since (BC.,times)with the Egyptians,traffic of the Nubias,Oromos,and Abyssinian,(Actual Ethiopia), for the Turkey's, Arabian,and Persian kingdoms,also for the constructions of the Pyramid,(in case somebody thought they were builded with union/labor)..Oduduwa,(Yoruba),was against of the traffic of slave and made the prediction that slavery would bring disgrace to Africa,( that was to the Egyptian),..then it came the slavery of the African/Empire,the first Ghanian Empire,the Bantu/Empire,and the Arara/Empire,again the Yorubas were the ony civilization in Africa oppose to it at this time Ocharinan,or, Ochakirinan,(another Yoruba chief was telling that to the Araras)..Them came the traffic of slave to fulfill the need of worriors for the Greece/Empire all this still on the (400-300 BC. times)..The Prophet Mohamed was born around,(595 Ad),so this slavery have nothing to do with Muslims.Then it came the need for slave to Roman/Empire,etc,(did anybody is getting the idea now?)...When the Muslims finally jump into the slave trade it was both ways,africans to the East and also Caucasian,(specially women for their Harem), to the West.Again the only people talking to the Muslims were the Yorubas,(everybody else was afraid of the Jihads)..The reason why the frase Asalam Malekum was know in the Yorubas is becouse that was the common vocabulary every time their,(the Yorubas) meet them...The most likely slave from the Muslims/Religion comming to Cuba were the Fulanis and Hausas,(which were converted to the religion during the first Jihads of the Muslims to conquer the West the North and the Northwest of Africa...The only people bringing drums with the resembling of the 'Tumbadora',(Congas),were the Bantus using some, (mid large) drums with straight line,and were using them already around 1846 during the 'Dia de Reyes',(an annual celebration which is the grandfather of the Carnivals)...The Bongos,(which have never been of Bantu ancestry),are modification of some of the drums which were used by the Carabalies in their ceremonies and each category of authority in that brotherhood could have its own unique drum,..Also the first percussionists in Cuba dominating the playing of those instruments,(Bongos), were all members of those Fraternal Brotherhood,(Abakuas).(This is no from a books,or,Fernando Ortiz),..I have families,(males of course), which are members of those Fraternal Brotherhood..The Bata as I said before is a unique Yoruba/Dominion,and before the Yorubas coming to Cuba with that knowledge,,..NOTBODY IN AFRICA,or, AMERICA KNEW HOW TO MAKE, or, HOW TO PLAY THEM,except the YORUBAS..In relation to the Congas the design for the curve/body was taken from the barril/containers which were used for the transportation of shortening,the binding was created by using tags,or neils,( in Cuba also),and later around 1950's the Rod Tuning System which was used for the Timbales was incorporated,(with some modifications),into the Congas...There is confusion with the instrument called, 'Tabla' which is called like that in differents contries but differents instruments,..the original 'Tabla',is a set of two drums which have some acoustic rings in the surface of the skin,and are originated from India,the Pandero,Darbukas,etc., are from Arabic ancestries.Dr. Zaragemca



Edited By zaragemca on 1143162694
International Club of Percussionists
zaragemca
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2003 11:18 pm
Location: Houston,Texas

Postby Berimbau » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:58 am

Actually, very much is now KNOWN regarding even the smallest details of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including the specific names of boats, captains, where they left from, landed, and even the ethnic mix of their human cargo. One need only go to a decent university library and consult the works of Curtin, Rawley, et al.
Yes there were Muslims in the African slave trade to Cuba, but they were in the distinct minority. Most of these unfortunate souls were taken from the Western Sudanic belt in a geographic area that included parts of Mali as well as Northern Ghana and Nigeria. Morocco was NOT a part of these slave trade routes, again those routes went in the opposite direction, from Mali TO Morocco!
Yes the Arabic greeting is found in some Palo ceremonies. I cannot at present remember the source for it (I'm pleading Katrina brain) but it could even have come from Southern Spain, which WAS under Arabic domination for centuries! I don't find it's use here particularly significant. Many New World African religions are noted for such transcultural interchanges.
As to the term Tbila, it is derived from the same Arabic root word as Tabla, which has been used for centuries in North Africa to describe both the goblet and kettle drums. Indians actually borrowed the term from the Arabs as their own twin "tabla" drums were being developed.



Saludos,



Berimbau
.
User avatar
Berimbau
 
Posts: 356
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:09 am
Location: Asheville, N.C.

Postby zaragemca » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:21 am

Saludos,the Muslims were able to penetrate the West, up to Senegal,North of Nigeria,and to the Central East,(the Fulanis/Hausas mix), that part of Mali were settle by the (Soninke/Malinke Tribes),which also became Muslims...The Bantu people,(Paleros),have the same situation with the Muslim phrase,(it was of extended use by them,(Muslims), so it was easy to remember for other tribes)...But anyway some Arabic people did come to Cuba during the Replublic/Period,(before Castro's)..Dr. Zaragemca



Edited By zaragemca on 1143163856
International Club of Percussionists
zaragemca
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2003 11:18 pm
Location: Houston,Texas

Next

Return to Miscellanea of history!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest