The Conga is a einfellige barrel drum of African origin, which was developed in Cuba and is widely used especially in dance music.


The Conga is a 70-90 cm high hand drum made of wood or fiberglass, which can have different diameters. The vertically-arranged Conga is covered at the top with a drumhead and open at the bottom. The head diameter is slightly larger than the bottom opening. The cover consists of a thicker hide. In Latin America, cattle are almost exclusively used in Europe and North America for price reasons often buffalo.

Origin and development

The arrival of the conga as a regular orchestral instrument was carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean. There it is, especially in Cuba, not called Conga, but Tumbadora and used as a single instrument. The name conga is related to the same carnival rhythm in eastern Cuba. The conga is played in popular dance music with hands, in the traditional Cuban folk music sometimes with sticks. The precursor of a conga is called in West Africa Bougarabou, there are also similarities with the Kpanlogo. Some drums had a religious significance, were considered sacred and were played on special occasions and festivals in the West African cultures. Various Eastern and West African peoples who were later deported as slaves to Latin America, revered three sacred drums, which were called differently and were dedicated to certain gods.

In the Latin American dance and jazz music the conga is played mostly in 2's or 3-piece set. These setups can be found today even in modern ensembles as well as in popular music. Again, we find different names of the individual drums. Above all, the conga with a diameter of 11 3/ 4 ". A slightly higher tone delivers her sister Quinto with 11 " diameter. For the low notes the Tumba is responsible, which is manufactured in a diameter of 12 1/2 ". Additional variants are requinto and Super Tumba.


In the Cuban technique the guiding hand is the right hand in right-handers. The basic strokes are: open shock (open, abierto ); Bass ( bajo ); Slap, a whip -like stroke, closed or open ( seco); Tip ( tapado ), a barely audible contact with the fingertips and a muffled beat ( muffled ). The hand is performing these blows (except for the slap ) basically flat on the skin, for the bass in the middle, the other blows with the transition finger - palm on the edge of the conga. The closed slap is played with the fingertips, hand slightly bent, palms on the Tronmmelrand. Especially the non-leading hand often plays on the fur center teetering, which produces less loud sounds. Here, the hands from the palm of your hand ( H) to the fingertips (F) and moved back (floating hand technique ). It alternately touching the heel of the hand or the finger tips the fur. In traditional Cuban folk music is sometimes played the conga with sticks. Typical rhythms are Tumbao, Bolero, and Afro-Cuban rumba.

In addition to the Cuban technique, a so-called net - play, there is the dominant African gross or hand -to- hand play. This is beaten strictly alternately with the right and the left hand, with the pauses as tips ( sO ) are executed.