"The Drummer's Diary" - share w. us what happens to you drumming

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Postby CongaTick » Sat Feb 26, 2005 12:52 pm

Belated Christmas gift from daughter was two tickets to Noche Flamenco at a big concert venue here in Philly. Big mind opener... hand clapping syncopation with precisely cadenced footwork...a singer with a voice that went from Madeira wine to aged rum... a sangre de cristo vibe... percussionist on cajon, base, two guitars... a taste of Moorish ebony...the dessert, a nomadic, downtrodden blues, defiant, proud with honor and tenderness...a one-two-THREE...one-two-THREE...ONE...TWO...forged into my brain to work on, to evolve and mix into, to explore...any other explorers out there who've tasted and mixed this heady ambrosia into the song of their hands? (Thank you, sweet daughter.)
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Postby CongaTick » Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:02 pm

Jam scheduled for this afternoon with blues/funk/rock crew... homies I've played with for years. Satisfying to be playing with them, but also a bit frustrating to not infuse within the mix all of the subtleties congueros work on once past the fundamentals. And of course, their ears -- like most --aren't tuned to hand percussion. They know when it's missing, but when it's there, they hear it more as a textured variation of a click track than fully appreciating its complex tonality or patterns. But then, carrying the rhythm is what it's about, and I should be glad they appreciate that and grateful to hang and play with them .
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Postby windhorse » Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:43 pm

Congatic,,, I know exactly what you mean by the appreciation thing.. They won't notice tiny subtleties that other congueros would,,, but they know if you're good or not..
right?? They must like what you do!

We'll be playing in Denver today.. Yesterday it was outside in the early part of the day when the sun was out! We played in a courtyard that faces South next to a park with lots of passerby.. One gal sat right in front of us for a long time,, so we recruited her to shaker.. She smiled and joined right in,, without any perceptable trouble.. :)

Everybody who played quinto was WAY inspired and I was just amazed at our group's Chango spirit coming through!
We've been so subtle and Ochun for a good while..
So, when it came my turn -- it was Yesa. I played with ferver and intensity on the lead conga,, including my most recently learned ride that includes a tresillo with touches on the first and third notes, and sending out a fat tone on the second note. My friends totally noticed the difference, and was sure to add my customary muff rolls, triplets, and occasional slaps.
What a day! Albeit some wierd energy with one of the guys who had recently broken with his long-time girlfriend, and another who's been working longer and harder than he's used to - and snapped at a guy who innocently played a part with a little too much variety.. ???

Well, hey,, whattayagonnado? Gotta let that stuff shake off the sleeves and just get back in and play! Right!!??
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Postby CongaTick » Sun Feb 27, 2005 7:35 pm

You got it, WH. Session now over and it was a bit lame.. a lot of tired retreading of old numbers instead of some of the impromptu bass-led jams that take us percussively into new territory. The energy wasn't quite there for the rest of the guys for some reason, despite my efforts to infuse some fire. Like you say bro, waddayagonna-do. Sometimes the gods smile on the gathering and sometimes....
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Postby untaltumbador » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:47 am


My name is Edward Rodriguez, this may no ring a bell. I was a friend of Rocking Cha, he was the one who turned me on Adalberto’s Rumba on Six. Rocking Cha use to let me sit in with him and kind of fallow the beat along. I learned a great deal from him and I really missed him since he passed away. The Niche social club may not even exist. Or at least it is an exclusive establishment.

Adalberto’s is now at: El Sarcedote and his quartet Guamo, continue their Thursdays
at Brisa Atlantica in Delray Beach (SE 7th off Atlantic Blvd.)
from 8:30pm to 12:30am. Friday & Saturday nights, the party
keeps on at Brisa Atlantica, from 9pm until 1am, with El Sacerdote
de la Rumba and his Urban Afro-Cuban Rhythms.

Good luck with the Video.


:) :) :)
Tumba Tumbador, Tumba
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Postby Obi » Tue Mar 01, 2005 6:48 am

My two cents for the diary...

I am not one to share personal experiences often but felt this most recent occasion bears mention.

Over the last few weeks I've been in a "funk" with no discernable cause. I found myself "waxing poetic" about the loss of a dear friend and mentor, Fred "Oba Famie" Gist.

I had never had formal instruction, but had been playing for years, learning as I went & always seeking to play with the best integrity for my craft. Along the way I was given the opportunity to play in an African Drum troupe "Hands of Chango" For whom Oba was the frontman and lead drummer.

Of all the things Oba taught me these two are the most important:

Respect the cultures and origins of music I play ???
Be myself :cool:

Thanks to him, I have grown a deeper understanding of African & African American cultures & Music. I found my relationship with the Cultures and religions of the African diaspora and found the means to look within to find my "Place" in the world.
It was through his friendship that I really got the opportunity to grow, not only as a musician, but as a man.

Although I still meet with struggles in life and career, I can stand more firmly in my beliefs and find the strength needed to carry on.

Oba was a touring musician Playing Congas and other percussion for the Moments (also Backup vocals), Isaac Hayes, Donna Summer and many others. He had moved to my region to help his ailing sister until he got sick himself.

Well into his Illness, He still found the strength to perform. Many times when the rest of us thought he wasn't going to make it through a gig, he would suddenly "light up" & let loose, even performing his "lion dance" in spite of the pain his body was in.

Oba & I used to get together seperately & hammer out grooves just for fun, & he became also, a good friend to my Wife & children.

Cancer finally took its toll & Oba Passed to the realm of the ancestors 2 years ago next month.

I bring this up now because, as I said earlier, I have been in a "funk" for the Last couple of weeks.

It was yesterday afternoon while making the 2 hour drive home from Philly that I found myself remembering his influence on my life.

Upon arriving home there was a message on my machine from Oba's daughter in Brooklyn. She had just called to say Hi. That was it. I called back & we talked for about an hour, just about life in general.

I realised after I hung up the phone just how much better I felt.

Today I realised that I also finally had the chance to mourn.

<a href= "http://www.geocities.com/drumrider"> Gahu Productions </a>
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Postby windhorse » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:46 pm

Obi! great post about living your life,, and what matters.
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Postby CongaTick » Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:56 pm

Things have been a bit tough, but throughout, my drums have been a strength and companion: Had to put our dog down Saturday, and he died in my arms as the vet put him to sleep. Our band is going through some major bumps in the road with personalities, etc. Been there before, but it's so damned draining. Throughout, I work my tumbaos each night, the metronome of my playing a force for order and fun in a universe seemingly colder each day. Last night's practice didn't go as well as I wanted. I'm always setting high goals for each session: a smoother/faster/crisper roll; a cleaner transition from one drum to the next; a new level of independence in my left hand; a breakthrough in timing my fills; a more cohesive solo. I get both depressed and inspired when I listened to the masters, but no matter how unsatisfied I am about my practice, I always come away with at least one accomplishment that helps me build to the next level. I'd been practicing tumbaos with my other hand to increase independence and last night pulled it off enough to play solid through 2 numbers... What a joy! Playing all patterns/ rhythms equally well with either hand is where I want to go! I'm on my way. And the drums get me through. Yeah, they do.
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Postby yoni » Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:27 pm

Hi CongaTick,

Any dis-satisfaction will just spur you on - don't need to get down about slow progress at times. I'm also self-critical to a fault; by now can't hear the sound samples I put on my mini web page here, am in a different place now. Had I again access to a computer with recording capability I would dump the old stuff and add current sounds...

I think it's great you're trying to play everything ambidextrously - we are bi-laterally symmetric critters and one side can do what the other can do, albeit with more work at first.

In Hebrew there's a separate word for playing music: "lenagen", while "lesahec" actually means "to play". I like the English conception here - to PLAY music, like a kid plays with toys. If I get stumped on some playing element for awhile, I just play what comes and enjoy the sounds - yes, just playing can lively up the mood, no matter what else goes on around. Sorry about the dog. All the best!

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Postby ABAKUA » Tue Mar 08, 2005 3:31 am

CongaTick wrote: Had to put our dog down Saturday, and he died in my arms as the vet put him to sleep.

My sincere condolonces. I know your pain.
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Postby CongaTick » Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:36 pm

Thanks Abakua. Unfortunately more pain rained down last night. Our bass player bailed. The conflict of personalities and baggage in a tight band is so damned tough. Ego, creativity, misconceptions and misinterpreted words and actions can light a fuse that will sizzle for a long time before exploding. A band of brothers can self-destuct so easily. And... a gig scheduled for end of month...Oy vey.
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Postby yoni » Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:09 pm

Congatick, losing the great friend that your pet was must have been pretty tough...

But I hope you don't get too down over the bailing bassist. There'll be another, probably soon. I don't know where you are based
(no pun intended) but hopefully there are a few bassists to choose from by the end of the month.

Yeah, sometimes I wish I were just a painter or artist of less social need... egos, all the interpersonal stuff that's best forgotten while playing, somehow can get inside anyway, if the chemistry isn't just right.

Next time you hear someone's ego blasting off, try this favorite line of mine by Captain Beefheart:

"The stars are matter... we're matter... but it doesn't matter!"

:D :D :D Oy vey indeed!

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Postby GuruPimpi » Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:25 pm

Hello all! It's been a while...

I read the whole thread yesterday, wanted toleave a post but my i-net connection failed... Today I read the last three post and got me goin to try again...

Losing a pet in your arms... brings a sad moments of my life with my dog Butcho, who passed away the same way. I hope you are getting better CongaTick.

As far the Ego maniacs in a band... Yeah, we all have them, ego I mean but many times, nevertheless how big musical and brother like connection is made, it is not guaranteed it will last... Funny, strange, natural? I don't know... I'm experiencing the similar problem in my band, mainly cause people start to judge... Judgements about music is to me so shallow and not worthy, and many times it has nothing to do with music, but with the problems we have with ourselves. I am usually a care-taker in a bands, that means that to me it is neccesary that everyione feels good and i tend to keep the bondage of members high and strong, but many times even that can't make people realize that the music and purity of the Heart which we can achieve by music, is the way of getting along in much more constructive and loving, RESPECTFUL way.

I'm too experiencing an emotional rollercoaster at this time - got my new Meinl Woodcraft Series Congas - they are the positive high, but many other things are just getting lower and lower. But, as I felt and as I read yesterday the Gemma's post, the drums are calling me and I don't put them on hold, I practise everyday for at least three hours and in start I'm all f... up, but just with tightening the lugs I feel them and hear them : Yeah, gonna rock this shit out!!! Coming out of shelter all calm and pruk tu prak prak prak :D

Tommorow I'm having an important job interview (project community work with youngsters that failed in a school system) but the boss is real tough and ...you know... Had a huge conflict on monday... Got me thinking to leave the possibility of financial security and go all the way with the music... Being the social worker and having an experiences with the musical community work...

Like the DRUMS said: Gonna rock this shit out right!

May the Groove be with me tommorow!

It helps, thanks and Groove on guys!

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Postby yoni » Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:52 pm

Pruk tu prak prak prak!!!

Love it!

GuruPimpi, right on about what you said about judgement - people can try to judge and analyze music to death... bores the #### out of me.

Ego, we all got some, fine, best to keep it cool, I guess. I play best if the music comes through me, not from me.

Social work through music sounds great - I have done that here for some years and still do occassionally.

But if the boss is too tough, forget it! If you want that kind of work, you should do it where you are appreciated!


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Postby JohnnyConga » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:57 am

As a Bandleader I run a "tight ship". I do not "allow" for "personality conflicts" . If one arises I nip it in the bud immediatly. My other approach to having band members is "the chair". When you join this band I explain, the "chair" is yours, if you leave the "chair", It is my responsiblity to put a body in that "chair", and basically you have "fired" yourself. I expect my musicians to carry themselves properly, respectfully, and professionally, especially when "on the job". I do not "fire" musicians, they fire themselves. I know cause I have "fired" myself on occassion- :D -Bass players are a dime a dozen, and EVERYONE is replaceable......"JC" Johnny conga...
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