How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

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How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby Assaf » Sun May 13, 2012 10:05 pm

Hey folks

Any suggestions how 4 people could put a conga habanera together?
I'm having difficulty working out how to combine parts, and decide which ones to keep/drop.

Anyone know of an online resource with the parts as my notes are sketchy on Conga Habanera.
(or anyone feel like sharing?)

thanks
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby windhorse » Sun May 13, 2012 11:04 pm

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10287309/ComparsaFeb5.mov
http://mrcrowder.us/cong/cuban.pdf 8th and ninth pages have what we do. It's written for 9 people. Will you have 1 bell, Tumba, Conga, and Quinto?
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby JohnnyConga » Mon May 14, 2012 12:20 am

Here is 2 ways to play it...http://youtu.be/trEpFgV55Z4

This is the best one I found for you...Michael Pluznick and his crew
http://youtu.be/wVxb4pWetGw
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby jorge » Mon May 14, 2012 5:19 am

Those clips above show you a few of the basics broken down very simply, but that is not how it sounds when played with a full group with bombo, sartenes (or brake drums), and all the bells and parts that make the rhythm what it is, plus good singers.

Whatever you do, it should come out sounding something like this clip from Yoruba Andabo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I992c9rR ... re=related
Forget the first few minutes before they really start playing, start listening at 3:20. This one example of how a conga de comparsa habanera should sound. Can't be done with 4 people and don't even think about sequencing it, you will never capture the real feeling of the music and all the attempts I have heard have come out sounding like a cruel joke. Best way to learn is to go to la Habana during carnaval, come back and find some Cubans where you live who know how to play conga de comparsa.
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby niallgregory » Mon May 14, 2012 11:34 am

It is very difficult to make it sound authentic with 4 people but i dont think its impossible to give an approximation of the rhythm and capture the general essence of it . I seen it done in habana by rumba groups with small amounts of members and it sounded great . Granted they didnt have all the sartenes parts and 2 bombos etc but it still sounded great ! The salidor , tres dos and rebajador can be combined and played by one person on 3 drums to good effect , add in the quinto , bells and bombo and it could sound pretty good imo .
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby bongosnotbombs » Mon May 14, 2012 1:56 pm

Very difficult to get comparsa to swing without enough players, i always dread when people want to play comparsa at the rumba, when there simply aren't enough drums and instruments. Takes forever to get it together. Not saying it can;t be done, but it's just not the same IMHO.
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby Assaf » Mon May 14, 2012 4:00 pm

Yeah, it's definitely a tall order and I've been pondering on it on and off for about a year. Thanks very much for your detailed suggestions. I look forward to reviewing them in the coming weeks.
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby jorge » Mon May 14, 2012 4:31 pm

Assuming you have additional lead and coro singers who can play clave and bell and sing, and we are just talking about percussionists, I still think 4 is not enough. Bombo and sartenes/bells are 2 necessary parts that require at minimum 1 player each. Salidor is a difficult part and hard work by itself, very hard to hold while playing tres dos and/or rebajador in addition, so count on 1 player for salidor. Niall, I know there are some drummers who can do it, but very few outside Cuba can hold it without dragging or rushing the timing or crossing clave. Someone who really knows conga de comparsa could potentially play conga / rebajador or tres dos / rebajador on 1 or 2 drums and talk to himself, but again you need a really good drummer. One more to play quinto or tres dos and quinto together could make it work with 5, but you can't really walk and play. We have done it justice with 7 including singers and singing drummers, but most of the guys are bataleros/rumberos from la Habana and we play sitting down for 5 or 10 minutes as the last song of the night, not walking for hours. Usually we pull a few from the audience to play quinto, sing coro, maybe play tres dos, and we wind up with 9 or 10, which is a good number as long as everyone knows their part.
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby Assaf » Mon May 14, 2012 8:59 pm

Fair enough Jorge.
First off we're not planning on walking anywhere. Secondly, let's leave singing out for now too. I think that's beyond us with just 4. I was thinking along the lines of just the rhythm.

Finally, i''m aware its a very tall order for only 4 people, but 4 is all we have. (we're not inexperienced, by the way)
So the question is, if all you had were 4 people and you wanted to put something that gave a feel of conga habanera and did it some justice, then how would you go about it?

I'm looking for suggestions on what parts can conceivably be combined and which can be dropped, if forced to.

Anyway, the ideas given above are definitely food for thought.
Thanks to all.
Last edited by Assaf on Mon May 14, 2012 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby Assaf » Mon May 14, 2012 9:09 pm

My personal thoughts prior to posting the question were actually along the lines of reducing the conga drums in favour of the metal and bombo parts. Looking to combine the two bombos for one person standing at something like Tom Toms, and looking for a way to combine some of the metal parts into parts that one or two people could play, then maybe adding one person on conga(s) or quinto. I thought that might work.
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby Assaf » Mon May 14, 2012 9:45 pm

Windhorse: thanks very much for sharing all those notes. That's extremely generous of you.
Jonny, the first clip you posted doesn't work for me. Can you please try again?
Thanks
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Re: How to Conga Habanera with 4 players

Postby windhorse » Tue May 15, 2012 12:49 pm

http://youtu.be/39Nt0ENndfs

A class I was in, where Jesus Diaz taught this rhythm. Check out the pans.
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