First I got an incredible deal on this vintage set of Cosmic Percussion Matadors. Matadors are like the de facto beginners drums, and they can be seen on a professional stages as well. Matador's are now made by LP who bought out Cosmic Percussion. This pair was the original and for the price of $150 for the set from a guy just 6 blocks away, I couldn't pass it up, even though the last thing I needed was more drums. So I kept them for about two weeks, and they were a nice set of drums. The skins were the original and made from cow. In the end I just did not have room or the need for the set, so I sold them to a man who bought them for his 13 year old son to learn on.
The next trade saw me selling my old vintage Gon Bops conga. It was a nice drum, in very good shape, oak, but the 10 3/4" inch head was just a little small for me. It was a little hard playing this drum with two hands; my hand would overlap playing tumbao and such, though it was fine for rumba. Anyways I put this one up for sale and wouldn't you know it, but the conguero I bought it from, my friend Will Perez, contacted me and wanted to buy it back. Seemed Will had gotten a perfectly matching quinto for it. So the drum went back to it's previous owner, probably the best place for it as Will takes better care of his drums than anyone I've ever seen.
|Will's Gon Bops quinto with the conga I sold back to him.|
Seems this pair of bongos used to belong to Mala "Mana" Rodrigues who used to be the bongocero in a kind of San Francisco girl salsa band called "Orquestra Sabrosita". I had bought these bongos from Mala's partner in Oakland who told me the story. Sadly Mala had been killed riding her bike in San Francisco about 20 years ago. The bongos had been sitting in the closet since then and I guess the current owner decided they needed to be played so she sold them to me. Coincidentally my friend Maria Medina was the conguero and singer for this same band and knew Mala well. I mentioned I had Mala's old bongos and had her play them one night at Club Deluxe here in town where I play jazz to poetry at The Word Party. Maria Medina was also a mutual friend of Lisa Forman who recently passed as well, there is a picture of them together on my post about Lisa Forman.
While discussing these bongos with Will, he mentioned he had a vintage Valje conga made in the 60's. Well that piqued my interest because the most prized drum in my collection is a vintage Valje tumba. The Gon Bops I had just sold Will used to be the match to my Valje tumba, and now I had a chance to replace it with a perfectly matching Valje conga, for the trade of my Valje bongos.
Well the deal was done and I couldn't be happier, though I was a little sad to see the bongos go and to no longer have a vintage Gon Bops. I'm just so partial to California congas being a Californian and all. However unkown to me at the time the Gon Bops would be quickly replaced....
|My new Valje conga with my Valje tumba.|
|Will's Valje's with the bongo I traded.|
|Playing my friends drums at her memorial.|
|Lisa's quinto is now with me.|
Now I have Lisa's Gon Bops quinto, and it will be played again, by myself and her other rumbero and drum circle friends, but for right now I've put it away. It's just too soon and I need some time to heal first.