Salsa Escrita, the Barquisimeto Salsa Column presents Giovanni “Meñenguito” Hidalgo
The special guest on this occasion is nothing more and nothing less than the legendary and talented Puerto Rican musician, Giovanni Hidalgo, a prominent percussionist, born in Puerto Rico in 1963.
Today he is known as one of the best congueros in the world among those of his generation.
And quite possibly one of the fastest of all known. In this installment of Written Salsa “La Columna Salsera de Barquisimeto”, through International Salsa Magazine, I present, specifically, the introduction of a tutorial method, where Master Hidalgo gives a master class on rhythms, techniques and improvisation; This method, by the way, you will get in its entirety on the YouTube channel, entitled: “Conga Virtuoso”; which is bilingual: english-spanish and is distributed by Warner Bros. Publications; and in which collaborate: Changuito, Ignacio Berroa, Ray Romero, Eric Figueroa, John Benítez, Danilo Pérez and David Sánchez.
It is noteworthy that, in the tutorial, it must be taken into account that Giovanni Hidalgo is left-handed and the examples are written for people who use the right hand.
The examples of three tumbadoras, including the position of the drums, can be played in the same way, even if one is straight. Evolution of the tumbao: around 1940, the band director, Arsenio Rodríguez, began to incorporate a tumbadora (conga), bongo, bell, two trumpets, a piano and a tres (derived from the Spanish guitar, but with three double strings and voices three triple strings). At the end of the 1940s, Frank “Machito” Grillo also added tumbadora to his orchestra, the Afro Cubanos, thus achieving the percussion section composed of bongo drums, tumbadora and timpani. At that time, the “conguero” played with just one drum. The different sounds were produced by means of dry blows, muffled blows (mute), open tones and bass tone (created with the palm of the hand). Giovanni Hidalgo explains all these sounds in this YouTube video “Conga Virtuoso”. A tumbadora: As Giovanni says, the traditional way of playing with just a tumbadora comes from the 1940s.
Despite the fact that Giovanni begins almost all the examples in elevation (with anachruse) in the fourth beat, the beginner should know that in most musical situations it begins in the first beat, without elevation.
Another factor to remember is that an open tone should be used when starting the first bar, as Giovanni demonstrates.
This initial open tone helps “anchor” and synchronizes the rhythm section in the first measure.
It is removed by repeating the pattern and replaced with a left-handed clap (P). Legend: O = open tone. P = with the palm of the hand, similar to the bass sound. B = bass sound (with the palm of the hand). S = dry. T = with the fingertips. M = note “muted”. This is achieved by pressing on the leather with the same hand (cover). Two tumbadoras: the first step in the evolution of the tumbao was playing with a drum.
The second phase integrated the use of two tumbadoras. It was during this stage that the art of playing the tumbadora rose to a higher level.
Some of the pioneers of the style with two tumbadoras are: Carlos “Patato” Valdez, Mongo Santamaría, Cándido Camero, Tata Güines, Francisco Aguabella, Armando Peraza and Ray Romero. In the examples, Giovanni plays a dry in the second half of the third beat of the first bar.
This is a light dry as opposed to the more pronounced dry. Adding Bass: This is a modern approach to how to play the basic tumbao with two tumbadoras.
This pattern uses the sound of the bass in the fourth measure. Giovanni lifts the tumbler lightly with his legs as he plays the bass sounds in the fourth bar. Raise the drum and allow the sound to come out from the bottom of the drum. Adding timpani and bongo drums: This section demonstrates how the tumbadoras, timpani and bongo drums work together in one section.
The pattern for tumbadoras is the tumbao with variations that combine old and modern styles, as mentioned by Giovanni. The timpani rhythm is based on a “shell” pattern playing on the pan (the sides of the timpani).
The bongo drum plays the basic pattern called “hammer” with impromptu phrases called “chime”.
When repeating, the 1st open tone is replaced with a left-hand clap (P). Bongo example: “Little” Ray Romero begins to chime immediately.
These phrases must also fit the key. The first example is the basic “hammer”, which is the basic function of the bongo drum in one section. The second example is a transcript of the chimes played by Ray Romero. Basic hammer: T = fingertips. TH = side of thumb. O = open tone on low drum (female).
Timpani pattern: changuito plays a “shell” pattern on the paila (sides of the timpani) in key 2-3.
Plus, it has a kick drum in which you add a pattern just like a drummer would. The fingers of the left hand play notes “Ghosts” while the right hand touches the shell. Also play an open tone with the third finger of the left hand on the bass drum (female), in the first measure. This creates a melodic line between the kick drum and the “female”. Additionally, Giovanni Hidalgo, in the tutorial, explains the rhythms of Puerto Rico, such as: jíbara, quás, plena, bomba, yubá and dutch music. To finish, we invite you to see in its entirety, the videos “Conga Virtuoso”, by maestro Giovanni Hidalgo, which will be very useful for both beginning and advanced musicians.
Salsa ephemeris: (07-23-1997) Elio Revé Matos “The Father of the Changüí” dies.
Sonero, composer, percussionist and director of his charangón. Master of masters, since figures such as Chucho Valdés, Juan Formell, Yumurí, Carlos Alfonso and even his own son Elito were formed in his orchestra.
(26-07-1933) was born in Guanico, Puerto Rico, Víctor Guillermo Toro Vega “Yomo Toro”.
Emblematic cuatrista among other bands from “La Orquesta de Willy Colón” and “Las Estrellas de Fania”. (07-26-2003) Juancito Torres, “The National Trumpet of Puerto Rico,” dies in Carolina, Puerto Rico, a virtuoso trumpeter, arranger and musical director. (90-07-1955) was born in Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, Héctor Tricoche.
Bravo sonero of outstanding participation with Mickey Cora’s band, “La Terrífica”, “La Primerísima de Puerto Rico” by Don Tommy Olivencia and his own orchestra.
Did you know ?: Renowned exponents of salsa, they are also famous for their nicknames and here is the second part: Benny Moré “El Bárbaro del Ritmo”; José Alberto “El Canario”; Johnny Pacheco “The Silver Fox”; Bobby Valentín “The King of the Bass”; Gilberto Santa Rosa “The Knight of Salsa”; Oscar D’León “The Sonero of the World”, “The Dancing Bass”, “The Pharaoh of the Salsa”, “The Devil of the Salsa”; Willie Colón “El Malo del Bronx”. In the next installment, we will continue.
Salsa lexicon: “Bantú”, a person of Bantu origin, that is, Congo. In Cuba, it is said in the form of a proverb: “Whoever does not have the Congo, has Carabalí.” Musically they use the three Yuka drums by tradition. A profane feast, celebrated by the Bantu, is called Macuta.
Radio: “At the Rhythm of Written Salsa” program, with Carlos Colmenárez and Alicio Silva on 91.7 FM Management, Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. Program “Por la Maceta Internacional” with Augusto Felibertt, through http://opcionfmradio.blogspot.com/, Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. “Archivo Caribeño” program, with Gherson Maldonado, for Salsa Caribe 102.3 FM, Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m.
Remember not to leave your house…! Until next time and let’s keep salseando!