La Rumba Es Para Todo Del Mundo.

   Rumba has it's origins in Cuba, of that there can be no doubt. It may have had influences from Africa and Spain, and from such diverse peoples as several African tribes, Andalusians, Spaniards, Moors and Gypsies, however it was created in Cuba, by Cubans and arguably for Cubans.

     However, even in Cuba there exists geographical stylistic variations. The most famous of which are the differences between the rumba styles of Matanzas and Havana. 

  Recently rumba has escaped the confines of it's island home and traveled the world. It seems at no other time has the popularity of rumba been greater, or the study of it easier. There exists several excellent texts on the subject, videos of rumba are easily viewed, modern and older rumba recordings are easily available and instruction on the music style is easily obtained either live or through online videos.

  In comparison, the great music called jazz originated in the United States of America. It also had a great many influences, and regional variations, similar to rumba. Jazz is enjoyed the world over, indeed, it has been adopted by the world to such an extent that it can no longer be called an American music, in my opinion, truly jazz has become an international art form. The fantastic jazz music performed in such countries as Japan, Italy and other world countries are just as legitimate expressions of the music as that found here in America. Each country always seems to throw their own spin on jazz music, which is only correct, as each performer should give an honest expression of themselves. Jazz has benefited from this tremendously.

  Is rumba different? Will other legitimate regional variations and expressions of the rumba musical form evolve that differ from the Cuban archetype? Or will the only legitimate form of rumba to be considered be the Cuban model?

  Rumba has traveled the world and is becoming an international music as. The evidence is here for me to see on my blog, as I receive visitors from literally all over the world. Will these rumberos place their own personalities and experiences aside and play as if they were "Cuban"? Or will these artists eventually instill their distinct personalities and experiences into the music we call rumba and play it a new way?


The Clave Matrix and Rumba Quinto

I recently acquired copies of two monumental books addressing clave and rumba. The first two books in the Unlocking Clave series: The Clave Matrix and Rumba Quinto, both written by California's own rumba researcher; the intrepid David Peñalosa. As these books are the first two in David's "Unlocking Clave" series, I assume there will be more books in the Unlocking Clave series yet to come.

The Clave Matrix has been out for a little while, and Rumba Quinto will be released soon. I was fortunate to get a preliminary copy of that book.

I'm just about through the first book "The Clave Matrix", which has been a very enjoyable study. I'll be posting a review of The Clave Matrix shortly. Later on you can expect a review of Rumba Quinto as well, but one book at a time.
   David has made a Facebook album with some of the graphics and images he used for The Clave Matrix, including some great images of Cal Tjader and Tito Puente.


A tasty little Yambu.

   I was playing a guaguanco with a friend the other day, just him improvising on a quinto and tres dos, with me holding it down on the salidor. Actually the tempo was more like a yambu. I wanted to add some strokes to my basic guaguanco to fill it out the rhythm as the other player was improvising, and I came up with adding all muff tones to the back side. I was really trying to swing it alone as we didn't have palitos. The rhythm started to really swing when I gave the phrases the feeling of starting with the open (O) tone on one side of the clave ending with the either the last bass (B) or muff (M) tone on the other side, and then starting a new phrase with the next open (O) tone, etc.

   Actually, this is exactly the way Michael Spiro teaches it in his book. What do you know? It works!

    The different tone quality of the muff tones on one side and bass tones on the other created a sweet little call and response feel, like a quick little conversation. Anyways, I really dug the feel of it. I tried it out later with when we had a third player on the tres dos, and it works with that part as well. The tones of the muffs sort of accent the higher pitch of the tres dos open tones that coincide with them, working with the tres dos, instead of playing over it.

So here's the transcription. I haven't seen the part written like this anywhere before. Try it out and let me know how it goes. Just click on the image a couple times to enlarge it. Feel free to print it out and play.