Bongo drum

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"Bongos" redirects here. Bongo drum_sentence_0

For the American pop band, see the Bongos. Bongo drum_sentence_1

For other uses, see Bongo (disambiguation). Bongo drum_sentence_2

Bongo drum_table_infobox_0

BongoBongo drum_table_caption_0
PercussionBongo drum_header_cell_0_0_0
Other namesBongo drum_header_cell_0_1_0 Bongos, bongo drumBongo drum_cell_0_1_1
ClassificationBongo drum_header_cell_0_2_0 PercussionBongo drum_cell_0_2_1
Hornbostel–Sachs classificationBongo drum_header_cell_0_3_0 211.251.2

(Sets of single-skin conical drums)Bongo drum_cell_0_3_1

DevelopedBongo drum_header_cell_0_4_0 Late 19th century in CubaBongo drum_cell_0_4_1
Playing rangeBongo drum_header_cell_0_5_0
Related instrumentsBongo drum_header_cell_0_6_0

Bongos (Spanish: bongó) are an Afro-Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of small open bottomed drums of different sizes. Bongo drum_sentence_3

In Spanish the larger drum is called the hembra (female) and the smaller the macho (male). Bongo drum_sentence_4

Together with the conga or tumbadora, and to a lesser extent the batá drum, bongos are the most widespread Cuban hand drums, being commonly played in genres such as son cubano, salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz. Bongo drum_sentence_5

A bongo drummer is known as a bongosero. Bongo drum_sentence_6

Bongo drums are about 20 centimetres (8 in) high and have diameters of approximately 20 centimetres (8 in) and 25 centimetres (10 in). Bongo drum_sentence_7

History Bongo drum_section_0

Origins Bongo drum_section_1

The origin of the bongo is largely unclear. Bongo drum_sentence_8

Its use was first documented in the Eastern region of Cuba, the Oriente Province, during the late 19th century, where it was employed in popular music styles such as nengón, changüí, and their descendant, the son cubano. Bongo drum_sentence_9

According to Fernando Ortiz, the word bongó derived from the Bantu words mgombo or ngoma, meaning drum. Bongo drum_sentence_10

He hypothesizes that the word evolved through metathesis and by similarity with another Bantu word, mbongo. Bongo drum_sentence_11

In Holguín, certains drums which are considered possible ancestors of the bongó are known as tahona, which might have a been a generic word for drum in Cuba and also refers to an unrelated music genre. Bongo drum_sentence_12

Most sources on Afro-Cuban cultural history argue that the bongo derives from Central African (Congo/Bantu) drum models, noticeable in the open bottoms. Bongo drum_sentence_13

The strong historical presence of Africans from the Congo/Angola region in Eastern Cuba (where the bongo first appeared) makes such an influence possible. Bongo drum_sentence_14

Moreover, Central African/Congo influences are also documented in the Cuban son music genre, including changüí, and initially the development of the bongo drum was in parallel with these genres. Bongo drum_sentence_15

From such conceptual African drum models, the bongo developed further in Cuba itself, and some historians state that the attaching of the two drums was a later invention that took place in Cuba. Bongo drum_sentence_16

Therefore, the instrument has been described as "African in concept but Cuban in invention". Bongo drum_sentence_17

This has been disputed, however, by several historians (most notably Haroldo Dilla Alfonso). Bongo drum_sentence_18

Evolution and popularization Bongo drum_section_2

The bongo entered Cuban popular music as a key instrument of early son ensembles, quickly becoming—due to the increasing popularity of the son—"the first instrument with an undeniable African past to be accepted in Cuban “society” circles". Bongo drum_sentence_19

This is attested, for example, in poems by Nicolás Guillén. Bongo drum_sentence_20

As son evolved and distanced itself from its precursor, the changüí, so did the bongos. Bongo drum_sentence_21

The bongos used in changüí, known as bongó de monte, are larger and tuned lower than their modern counterparts, have tack-heads instead of tunable hardware, and play in a manner similar to the lead conga drum (quinto) and other folkloric lead drum parts. Bongo drum_sentence_22

Unlike modern son, changüí never extended its popularity beyond eastern Cuba, and hence its bongos remain a rare sight. Bongo drum_sentence_23

It is commonly accepted that the son reached Havana partly as a result of the arrival of musicians members of Cuba's ejército permanente (permanent army), which brought music from eastern Cuba with them. Bongo drum_sentence_24

Among the first known bongoseros to enlist in the ejército permanente in Santiago de Cuba was Mariano Mena. Bongo drum_sentence_25

During the sexteto era, son groups began performing and touring more than ever before, and for the first time, recordings were being made. Bongo drum_sentence_26

It was in this context that the first great innovators of the bongo made their mark, and unlike their predecessors, their names were not lost in time. Bongo drum_sentence_27

Of particular note were Óscar Sotolongo of the Sexteto Habanero and José Manuel Carriera Incharte "El Chino" of the Sexteto Nacional, the two leading groups of the 1920s and '30s. Bongo drum_sentence_28

Sotolongo himself would later leave the Habanero and direct his own group, the Conjunto Típico Cubano. Bongo drum_sentence_29

His replacement was Agustín Gutiérrez "Manana", who is widely considered one of the most influential bongoseros, partly due to his condition as an Abakuá member, which allowed him to develop techniques based on the ekué (secret drum) drumming of such society. Bongo drum_sentence_30

In 1930, Sotolongo's son, Andrés Sotolongo replaced Gutiérrez in the Habanero. Bongo drum_sentence_31

Decades later, at 82 years of age, Andrés Sotolongo was recorded for the Routes of Rhythm documentary playing alongside Isaac Oviedo. Bongo drum_sentence_32

The 1930s saw an increase in the technical skill of bongoseros, as evidenced by Clemente "Chicho" Piquero, whose virtuosic performances inspired a young Mongo Santamaría to take up the instrument. Bongo drum_sentence_33

By the early 1940s, Santamaría had become a master of the instrument, performing with the Lecuona Cuban Boys, Sonora Matancera, Conjunto Matamoros and Arsenio Rodríguez's "Conjunto Segundo" among others. Bongo drum_sentence_34

Arsenio had pioneered the conjunto format by incorporating a tumbadora (conga drum) into the rhythm section and having the bongosero double on cowbell. Bongo drum_sentence_35

Arsenio's long-time bongosero was Antolín "Papa Kila" Suárez, who is often cited as one of the greatest of his time along with Pedro Mena of the Conjunto Matamoros. Bongo drum_sentence_36

Arsenio's group also helped break the barriers of race, which particularly affected bongoseros. Bongo drum_sentence_37

For example, the Orquesta Casino de la Playa did not allow their black bongosero Ramón Castro to perform on stage, nor was Arsenio allowed on the tres. Bongo drum_sentence_38

The Casino de la Playa would also feature bongosero Cándido Requena, who later joined the Conjunto Kubavana and Conjunto Niágara, and became one of Cuba's foremost makers of bongos and tumbadoras. Bongo drum_sentence_39

Requena, as well as the Vergara brothers, were instrumental in the technological improvement of bongos and congas. Bongo drum_sentence_40

Before the advent of mechanically tunable bongos and congas in the 1940s, both instruments used to be tuned with oil or kerosene lamps. Bongo drum_sentence_41

The heat of the flame was used to expand the drumhead to achieve the desired sound. Bongo drum_sentence_42

Following the popularization of the tumbadora, Santamaría switched to the instrument, while remaining a close friend of bongosero Armando Peraza. Bongo drum_sentence_43

Both moved to New York by 1950, bringing their music abilities with them. Bongo drum_sentence_44

Among the bongoseros who stayed in Cuba were the aforementioned Chicho Piquero, who had become a close friend of Benny Moré in Mexico and became his Banda Gigante's bongosero back in Cuba. Bongo drum_sentence_45

Also important during the 1950s were Papa Gofio of the Conjunto Rumbavana and Rogelio "Yeyo" Iglesias, the main bongo player in Havana's descarga scene. Bongo drum_sentence_46

Over the course of the 20th century, the bongo spread throughout Latin America. Bongo drum_sentence_47

In the Dominican Republic, the bongo became integral to bachata, a genre related to bolero that emerged in the 1960s. Bongo drum_sentence_48

In the United States Bongo drum_section_3

Spearheaded by the iconic conguero Chano Pozo, the late 1940s saw an exodus of Afro-Cuban percussionists from Cuba to the United States. Bongo drum_sentence_49

Among the leading bongoseros of Cuban origin in the United States were Armando Peraza, Chino Pozo (unrelated to Chano) and Rogelio Darias, who had a long career in Las Vegas and was known as the King of the Bongo. Bongo drum_sentence_50

Many others, however, would become primarily conga players, such as Mongo Santamaría, Sabú Martínez and Cándido Camero. Bongo drum_sentence_51

The Latin music scene of New York, and the US in general, was primarily constituted by Puerto Ricans, and many influential bongoseros were Puerto Ricans who learned from Cubans. Bongo drum_sentence_52

An early example is Rafael "Congo" Castro, who arrived in New York in 1924 and had a long career as a bongosero in Chicago until the 1980s. Bongo drum_sentence_53

In New York, many Puerto Rican bongoseros would go on to join the pioneering Afro-Cuban jazz ensembles of the time such as Machito and his Afro-Cubans, whose singles "Tangá" and "Mango mangüé"—considered the first examples of the genre—featured José Mangual Sr. "Buyú" on bongos. Bongo drum_sentence_54

Mangual's prolific career was continued by his sons José Mangual Jr. and Luis Mangual, who played in a variety of salsa groups in the 1970s. Bongo drum_sentence_55

The two biggest Latin orchestras of the 1950s in New York, led by Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez, were home to two generations of bongoseros represented by Johnny "La Vaca" Rodríguez and his son Johnny "Dandy" Rodríguez, of Puerto Rican ancestry. Bongo drum_sentence_56

Other Puerto Rican musicians who made a name for themselves on the bongos were Richie Bastar of El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Ralph Marzán of Johnny Pacheco's charanga, "Little" Ray Romero, Frank Colón and Roberto Roena. Bongo drum_sentence_57

On the other hand, American master bongoseros include Jack Costanzo and Willie Bobo, the latter more active on timbales. Bongo drum_sentence_58

Other bongoseros who had more impact as timbaleros were Manny Oquendo, Orestes Vilató and Nicky Marrero. Bongo drum_sentence_59

American novelty rock acts such as Preston Epps and Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band capitalized on the popularity of the instrument as well as its "exotic" and rhythmic qualities. Bongo drum_sentence_60

Technique Bongo drum_section_4

Bongo drums produce relatively high-pitched sounds compared to conga drums, and should be held behind the knees with the larger drum on the right when right-handed. Bongo drum_sentence_61

It is most often played by hand and is especially associated in Cuban music with a steady pattern or ostinato of eighth-notes known as the martillo or "hammer". Bongo drum_sentence_62

They are traditionally played by striking the edge of the drumheads with the fingers and palms. Bongo drum_sentence_63

The glissando used with bongó de monte is done by rubbing the third finger, supported by the thumb, across the head of the drum. Bongo drum_sentence_64

The finger is sometimes moistened with saliva, or sweat before rubbing it across the head. Bongo drum_sentence_65

These drums can also be played on a stand, as is the case with concert orchestras and bands. Bongo drum_sentence_66


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bongo drum.