Congas – the Cuban drums or ‘Tumbadora’
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January 24, 2016

The Conga adds a fast paced Caribbean flair to any tune, and is guaranteed to get people moving. So get out there and play for your friends and family to set the party atmosphere.

Gloria Estefan Conga

If you have ever jammed to calypso, enjoyed the beat of reggae funk, the drums that were setting the beat were most likely congas.

The conga is the drum you visualize when you imagine an island jamming session-you know, the one with the tall drummer with the dreads breaking down a beat so fast it makes you just want to start dancing.

The conga is all about the heat and spice of the Caribbean, and for good reason. It's used for the Cha Cha, Salsa, and Rumba.

If you are lucky enough to have visited Cuba or Jamaica,  chances are that the beat stuck in your mind is set by the Conga drum.

In the world of the Conga, natural is still king. Even amongst professional players, the Conga with mule hide is considered superior. The Conga can utilize any type of thick animal hide, but the most common are water buffalo and cow hide.

In today’s age of modern synthetic materials and screw tensioned drum heads, the Conga that is preferred by professionals stouts a fiberglass or staved wooden shell.

A beginner to the Conga can make do with whatever he can get his hands on, and it will still sound great.

The Conga drums are used to make the fast beats that set the tone to many of the Caribbean’s greatest dance beats. The Conga drums are unique in that they can be tuned and played in groups.

Many times you will see a Conga player playing two drums side by side of the same size, and other times you may see a set of Congas. The Conga is named depending on the size of the particular drum, from largest to smallest the tumba, conga, quinto, and requinto. The fact that the Congas can be played in groups add to the depth of the beat that can be made utilizing Conga drums.

The Conga’s size set the tone of the particular drum. The rumba can be used similar to a bass, while the quinto is used for fast tapping and rolls.

Each size of Conga is used for a particular part of a beat, the biggest ones setting the bass, with the smaller ones setting the rhythm.

The single stand Conga is also used by many players to great effect, and because the Conga requires a number of different tapping styles a very well rounded beat can be made from a single Conga. Usually the Conga sized Conga is used alone and sets of two.

If you want to dance to an authentic Cha Cha or Rumba beat, there is no way to do it without a Conga.