CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cuban Bongo Restoration - 50's Benny More' tour drums

Vintage Latin Mahogany Bongo from Cuba, restored to near new. 6" Macho, 7.5" Hembra

One extremely rare and Vintage set of Mahogany Cuban Sonoc Bongo of the highest order. I believe the set was made in the early 1950's. Perhaps just before the world tour in 1954.

Amazingly, it has an inventory label from a tour with the great Cuban singer Benny More'

Here is a clip of Benny More's with Mongo Santamaria.. no bongo in it, but this is a blog about congas anyhow.. ;)

This set has most likely had an unbelievable life, touring the world with Benny More', with one of the worlds top Latin band of the time, La Banda Gigante, on one or both huge world tours in the mid 50's. .. what this set has seen!

The set was purchased from a one of the top Latin percussion historians Dario Rosendo, from the bongocero named Claro of the World famous Cuban band Ritmo Oriental.

The set is quite amazing. It is made of the extinct Tree, and famed Cuban drum wood, Caoba that is still prized today for its legendary sound.

It sounds as beautiful as it looks. And it plays so nice seated. A medium weight Mahogany, not like the lighter Mahogany from Asia, more like walnut density. The hardware is strong, solid, and is efficient, in that its not over built. really the best design for a seated player.

It needed restoration, but was in really good shape for how much it was played. And it had this funky 50's circus influenced paint job.. quite a piece.

I can see it up on stage under the big lights. 

I restored the set to nearly new condition, with new high end kip skins. The set looks and plays amazingly, tunes nicely and is very well built.

The sound is so sweet, in the pocket, crisp and throaty with a woody love handle. The set has a lot of projection, and a crisp high end that makes your Martillo sharp, with fat, woody projection from the Hembra.

Here is a clip from the man himself, back in the day.. and I can report, this set sounds nearly the same as the set played here. 

I can see why it was played by the best of the best players of the 50's-70's.

The set has a tour inventory tag on the inside, the kind I have seen before, common on tours with huge bands, flying to different countries and having instruments professionally moved from one tour location to another.

So, this set, after going literally around the world playing huge gigs with Benny More', the biggest Latin act in the world at the time, it gets passed on to this amazingly fat Ritmo Oriental, one of the top Cuban bands of the time. What a life.

Here is some shots of the restoration process...

And a nice 'job well done' comment on FB by the patriarch of Latin Percussion, Martin Cohen, thanks Martin!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brazilian Carnaval in Sacramento 3/15 2014 at the Old Sugar Mill ! - A Carnival of Dance

Well, isn't Sacramento lucky to have such amazing Brazilian culture!

Brazilian Dancer and Musical Director Marta Santos brings a Rio De Janeiro style Carnaval near your home town!

Please pass on the Details to your friends:

Brazilian Carnaval at The Old Sugar Mill !
Saturday, March 15th 6pm to 12 midnight
35265 Willow Ave.
Clarksburg Ca 95612
$15 at the door, $12 in advance
Free dance class included (at 6:30pm)

Marta is a treasure of the valley, bringing the amazing rhythms, dance and costumes of  Carnaval in Brazil, to the Old Sugar Mill in Carksburg, Ca March 15th from 6pm to Midnight... can I do another (!!) ?

This fantastic event will feature LIVE performance of Brazilian Drummers from the legendary musical cities of Salvador Bahia and Rio De Janeiro playing the most energetic and entertaining music, famous around the world for bringing huge smiles to everyone in attendance.

Brazilian Carnaval is well known for its world class beautiful, smiling dancers in stunning brightly feathered costumes parading to the seductive Rhythms of Samba.

If you love Zumba, you are going to love this! Samba is the real deal, and the live drummers are sure to inspire, and fill your heart with the contagious joy expressed by this culture.Dont miss this opportunity to come watch this Culturally rich event just outside of Sacramento, brought to you by your talented local Brazilian community.

Musical Director Marta Santos has really out done herself this year, as they are proud to welcome a world class lineup of performers - including Singers, Dancers and Percussionists directly from Brazil. Well done Marta!

The lineup is extraordinary, to say the least... hold on to your hats for this list!

Direct from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, The Samba Dance and Performance Troupe -

Namorados Da Lua!

Sacramento's own Samba Da Terra, led by the stunning local dancer Marta Santos!

The Super Sonic Dance School!

AND the Super charged Brazilian group Fogo Na Roupa!

Get ready for a fantastic evening of great Food, Wine and DANCE!!

Free Samba Dance Class at 6:30pm!

For more information, contact Raul Macias at 916-261-0412, or email him at,

or visit Marta's facebook page

Please pass on the Details to your friends:

Brazilian Carnaval at The Old Sugar Mill !
Saturday, March 15th 6pm to 12 midnight 
35265 Willow Ave. 
Clarksburg, Ca 95612
$15 at the door, $12 in advance
Free dance class included (at 6:30pm)

Feel Free to click on, copy and paste the flier below and post to your Social Media!