CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: One foot in the past, one in the future

Saturday, August 23, 2008

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One foot in the past, one in the future

We are so fortunate, in this time, to have access to both the ancient and the modern.

Private instruction is ideal, and some would say, its essential. But one can get far with the material open to the public domain, and then continuing their studies with a master of the tradition, here, or in Cuba.

There are several transcriptions available, and a few DVD's, private and public, various sources on the net, etc. The brothers and sisters of the tradition have laid out a nice collection sources, d-bases, boards, and internet brotherhoods.

To be able to work through this material, and eventually sort out what is most true to the form(s), will be a large task. But in the end, I will need all the help i can get.

As far as building chops, Im playing to the DVD's, trying to build up endurance while learning the calls. Looks like Yaya and I will be getting together with Bob, Tito and other cats to work out the parts bi-monthly or so. I plan on eventually hitting Francisco Barroso's dance classes - they are every tuesday and thursday in SF, about an hour from where i live. Its a great place to play, in a performance like setting.. so cool that Tito Garcia always has a seat for me there. Barroso works you good, for a good hour and a half, closing with the fastest rhythms.

His style of teaching is great for the dancers, as it increases in difficulty, and you can drop out whenever it gets too difficult. But the drummers have a long haul with a big push as the class ends. I have to work into it. Last time i came home with some fat blisters - some of the bata are skinned in a way, that you have to learn each drums sweet spot, to comfortably make a sweet sound without tearing your hands up. For me, i know there is something wrong when blood starts flying around.

At my age, 40 and counting, I have to be smart about this. My goal is to end up playing these prayers for a long time to come.


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