African drumming and percussion remain unchanged in the African context.  Latin drumming and percussion exist as a result of the sharing of African culture with European influence and the forming of an art form tailored to a new context, place and time across the Carribean and the Americas.
Africans gave Latinos three polyrhythms or families of rhythm represented by rhythmic codes or claves:

  • Son (4/4 time signature, in 3:2 or 2:3 form, secular uses)
  • Rumba (4/4 time signature, in 3:2 or 2:3 mode, secular uses)
  • Bembe (6/8 time signature, religious uses)

Our lessons and workshops help the drummer (specialist) or percussionist (generalist) appreciate the structure of Latin music and helps them and dancers know how this blend of rhythms uses an ensemble or a community of drummers, dancers and a group of instruments to deliver the fullest expression to any polyrhythm.

Each polyrhythm belongs to a specific dance and that dance has a cultural or community based context.  African and Latin drumming are community based activities. Dancing delivers polyrhythmic expression throughout the whole body.  The ensemble delivers polyrthymic expression throughout the whole community.

These claves are like keys for the locks on doors that once opened with the key or clave opens the door to a room full of fascinating rhythmic forms, past and present.

Son Montuno (Salsa)
Guajira (Chachacha)
Mambo Guaracha
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