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Sunday, 20 January 2013


Bongos are a pair of small drums fastened together; Afro-American origin, possibly Afro-Cuban; drum shells are wooden and open at bottom; drum heads covered with animal skin; heads about 5 in. (13 cm) and about 7 in. (18 cm) across; played by hand, mainly as accompaniment to Latin American dance music.

Africa can lay claim to inventing the bongo drums, although no one can pinpoint exactly where on the continent and when in the late 1800s the history of bongo drums began.

During this time, the bringing of slaves from Africa to South America included the migration of bongo drums. Cuba was and is enamoured with the bongo drum, as evidenced in the musical genres of changui and son.

The drum heads on the bongos are usually made of animal skins but are sometimes made of plastic. The body of the drums are metal, wood and sometimes ceramic. One drum is bigger than the other. The bigger drum is called a "hembra" and means "female" in Spanish. The smaller of the two drums is called a "macho" and means "male" in Spanish.

Bongo drumming historically relates to "Changui and Son," a well-known Cuban style of music. Changui and Son first came into existence in eastern Cuba in the late 1800s when slavery was abolished. The drum heads on the bongos were initially tacked and tuned with a heat source. But in the 1940s, metal tuning lugs were created to support faster, more efficient and easier tuning.

The first recorded use of the word bongo for a pair of Cuban drums held between the knees and played with the fingers was in 1920.

The term "bongocero" meant that a bongo player had mastered the instrument and had the ability to teach others. Top bongocerros have earned a name in the music business, most notably Willie Bobo, Frank Colon and Nils Fischer. Jack Constanzo was a bongocero who became a teacher of several Hollywood movie
stars including James Dean and Marlon Brando.

Sources http://www.ehow.comDaily Express

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