This is the first post of what will hopefully be a series of guest blog posts brought to us by my friend and very fine Irish jazz drummer/educator, Conor Guilfoyle. Conor has been sharing wonderful lessons and excellent practical drumming information via YouTube and his website for some time now and I'm thrilled that he will be able to share his great explanations here as well:
"Applying Rumba to the Drumset" - Conor Guilfoyle
Cuban Rumba with its heavy African influences has a vast and rich tradition. It was developed in the cities of urban Cuba at the end of the 19th Century, where it still thrives today, before moving to the USA and then the rest of the world. While there have been some changes in instrumentation and phrasing, its ability to develop while still keeping the original structures in place has kept it relevant today.
In my lesson I'm looking at just one form of the Rumba, the mid-tempo style called "Guaguanco", and to be honest it's just a toe in the water of this vast musical ocean. I also purposely avoid using any percussion extras such as the claves or cowbells but rather use the standard drum kit to recreate the sounds. A rumba ensemble consists of three conga players, a stick percussionist, and singers as well as dancers. We cannot possibly hope to recreate that sound, so instead I focus on the interaction between the clave and the standard conga pattern. If you wanted to take it a step further you replace the clave pattern with the "Cascara", which is a common stick pattern used in many styles of Cuban music including Rumba.
You'll find this pattern and other common Cuban rhythms that I have applied to the standard kit at this link here:
The key of course is to listen to the music. Below is a list of some of the great exponents of this style. Just put their names into YouTube and it will yield a treasure throve of great music. Be careful though, you might never come back!
Los Muñequitos de Matanzas