AfroCuban Percussion

Mar 5, 2020


The fame of the Cuban percussionists has reached an international level, the skill with which they manage their instrument and the ability to express their emotions in the rhythms imbricated in our nation.

The timpani, the conga and bongo are indelible markers of AfroCuban percussion. The rhythmic sounds of these percussion instruments, which are guided by the typical key of rumba and guaguancó, has become essential elements in any Cuban orchestra interested in our most typical rhythms.

Best of Cuban percussion

Cuba has been characterized by mixing African rhythms and accompaniment with instruments that provides the music a typically Cuban innovative sound. Among the most renowned Cuban percussionists of all time, Mongo Santamaria stands out.

Mongo Santamaria is one of the most prominent bongoseros in the Cuban music scene. Member of the Conjunto Matamoros, he played with figures like Benny More, Carlos Santana and Tito Puente. His undeniable talent won him a Latin Grammy in 1976 for his album Amanecer and was awarded by the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Another great one: Dennys Savón Navarro, known as Papacho Savon. He started in percussion at an early age, and his enormous talent led him to work from 16 years with Carlos Manuel and his Clan, known Cuban orchestra and, later, began playing with Issac Delgado. It is considered one of the most talented young percussionists of the island and has achieved international renown with its distinctive rhythms.

Another of the best known percussionists is Fernando Favier. With a history of 10 years in the group of Carlos Varela, his compositions are used to measure the level of applicants to higher levels of music education in our country. He has worked with internationally renowned artists such as Alejandro Sanz, Nina Pastori, Lolita, Paquito D’Rivera and Descemer Bueno. His musical career has led him to dabble in jazz, pop and flamenco.

Pancho Terry King of shekeré

The chequeré or chequerere is a percussion instrument of African origin, made with a dry squash and a network of beads that covers it. Also very common in the AfroCuban percussion. The peculiar and unique sound of this instrument makes it stand out among those of percussion. Precisely, a master of this instrument in Cuba is Pancho Terry. Terry founded the Maravilla de Florida orchestra and directed the band Tínima in the province of Camagüey.

Its undeniable mastery of the instrument has done on numerous occasions sharing the stage with Bobby Carcasses and it is normal to find with jazz orchestras of the island. He has won Latin Grammy and has played with Los Van Van, Sergio Vitier, Ernán Lopez Nussa and Havana Report.

Those are only four of the many, many great percussionist of the Island that had explored the frontiers of the afro-cuban rhythms. Stars like Tata Güines, Carlos Patato Valdés, Chano Pozo, Elio Revé, Enrique Plá, Giraldo Piloto, Pello el Afrokán, Ruy López-Nussa and many others comes to mind, if we talk about AfroCuban percussion.

If you want to know more about the origins of Cuban music, you can find more related articles in our blog. If you liked this particular article, please share it through your social networks or leave us a comment with your opinion.


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