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Timba-go With James Dreier

A common question that arises with my students when dealing with contemporary Cuban-based music is: "What does the drum set player do?" Because the drum set is a relatively new arrival in the Cuban rhythm section (which includes congas, bongos, timbales, cowbell, guiro, claves etc.), there is always some confusion as to what the drum set player can do that will add, but not get in the way of the other instruments and patterns.One Solution I have come up with from my travels to Cuba and study with Cuban drummers is a timba/songo-based pattern that I call "Timba-go." The fact that the snare drum, not the bass drum, hits the ever-important "bombo" note (see Figure 1 below) makes the pattern different and a bit funkier. There is also a good dose of "Garibaldi" here, a drummer who has been a big influence on contemporary Cuban drummers. Timba-go provides a nice substitute or variation for the more traditional songo pattern that can be overused and/or sound a bit clich

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