CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: La Pena Rumba - Daylight saved the rumba

Monday, November 3, 2008

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La Pena Rumba - Daylight saved the rumba

That was one fun session.

Sandy, Pili, Yaya, Javier, Orlando, Trevino, Butch, Bruce, Rick, and a few new cats who knew how to play. I have a feeling they were Mission players.

I have to dig a bit deeper, over on that side of the bay, for cats like Ricky Agular, and other talented players on the Mission. There has to be more of a scene than i am privy to.

... back to the rumba... Early, Javier and I were playing, Carlos Aldama rolls in, stops to check us out for a bit, then turns and walks out, went home, not into it. I was bummed he was so turned off by our 12/8, but it just makes me work harder. I know it wasnt Javiers playing he wasnt into. He was gracious and over kind to say to me that it was 'ok' before he left. Ok for a gringo, perhaps... ;) Not ok for a Master, as for now.

The rumba rolled on and some more experienced players came to play.

Then suddenly, Pili grabs Trevino and the it was on. He grabs the cajones, puts one bajo in front of Trevino, takes one himself, and asks me to sit down on quinto cajon. It was quite an honor for me, actually.

It was a fat Yambu, and sounded so sweet. I really got into a groove, and was feeling it. After it closed out, I got up and went to the bar to look for my beer. Sandy was there with one of his close friends. I said to him, you hear that? He said yea, as he could not see the rumba from where he was sitting. I said, that was me.. on quinto cajon. Sandy said, Verdad? oh, I thought it was Pili.. with a big smile on his face. Gives me a high five. Its moments like that that make all the work worth while. They are all so supportive of me.

Anyway, the La Pena rumba was ripping and in full swing, when Yaya, with sadness in his voice, stated that we had overstayed our welcome, and we had to end the Rumba due to the time. He was just ending it like he always does, on time.

But Yaya, the crowd chanted in unity, its daylight savings time! We have another full hour!!

The crowd rejoiced: clinking beers, hugging kids, cheering wildly.

Then the Rumba went off.

Sandy came in to sit with Pili and Vladimir, with the amazing dancer Francisco Barroso singing. Yaya was sitting in the crowd with a friend, watching the show with a grin on his face.

I sat down on Bajo for a Columbia with Sandy and Pili, as seen on TV, so dang fun... keep up man, keep up! I have work to do, but recording like this help me see what im doing, good and bad.

It was nice, that Sandy got up when i did. That was one of those subtle complements i look for. People rarely tell you you are playing well. you have to look to see who is or is not dancing, singing and playing and when, if anyone is looking at you, how well things are working in general etc.

At several points in the session filmed here, Barroso was giving me the chopping motion of someone urging you to play more exact, direct and on top of the feel. ok i tried to step it up. Sandy looked over twice to see if i could get it going, but seemed to like it when i did, playing boldly on quinto. Im getting there... not there yet, but making progress. Alisa Froman, of fame, is dancing - which is a good sign, yes? She was a part of Susana Arenas' troupe at one point.

After the session we went over to a love fest of a jam session at Tony D's Studio/nightclub to be.
Tony is building his own palace/ideal night club inside of a large warehouse. It will be sweet when hes all done.

It was strange to see at first, he built this huge riser for his kit. He is one incredible trap artist from the Caribbean and is a really talented Sabar drummer. But his stage cracked me up. It reminded me of the movie Spinal Tap. I expected Tony D to descend from the rafters in a cocoon, lowered through a cloud of smoke into his huge drum set - pan drums, timbales, Neal Peart like set of toms.. he is one funny cat: nice as your favorite brother, and simply excentric.

So, Im trying to fill my week with more opportunity to play. Heading to a dance class in Napa to play with some of Sandy's students, planning on making the regular treck to SF to play with Tito at Barroso's dance class. I want to play publically several times a week, if i can.



  1. That was a ripping jam. Thanks for the video, Sandy shredded it. Nice job on the tumba. Peace

  2. hey Jonathan,

    Nice to see you there. Yea, that was fun, thanks for the kind words.




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