The Tumba

The tumba is the lowest pitched drum in a rumba. Right now the drum manufacturers are labeling this drum as "tumba", but it can actually be called by several names. Salidor, tumba, tumbadora, hembra and la conga. The last one, "la conga" is what my teacher Sandy Perez refers to this drum as, which of course translates into "the conga", which was confusing at first.

So this drum is the largest of the conga drums used for rumba. It generally has the most steady beat of all the drums, typically playing bass notes on the pulse along with the open notes for the melody. This role contrasts with the role of the low drum in other folkloric music traditions where the lowest drum (usually referred to as the caja) is the drum that improvises; marking the dancers and playing solos. In rumba this role is usually reserved for the quinto.

I am very lucky to have two of the best tumbas money can buy. I have one 12 1/4 " tumba made by Resolution drums here in California. In the photo this drum is on the left. It is made from oak and is a fantastic drum. There is a long history behind this particular company which I won't get into here. Ralph Flores, who makes these drums is an incredible craftsman and a very nice guy.

My other tumba is a 12 3/4" Skin on Skin tumba (SOS) and is made from cherry. Jay Bereck who makes these drums in New York is the most experienced drum maker in America. His drums have an incredible reputation and of course are just absolutely wonderful drums. Jay and his apprentice Josh don't have a website, but you can contact them here.
1618 State Hwy. 41 
Afton, NY 13730
(607) 639-2417

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