History of Rumberos

Posted: January 17, 2014 02:02 PM

Zaragemca

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    Oct 19, 2011

Well let me see. I was born in Habana, ( Los Sitios), neighborhood, where they had the best, Guaguanco /Rumba, meeting which was set up in Habana. The meeting would take place every Sunday, in the first floor of the building where I was living in the second floor. I would not get permission to go if it would take place someplace else because the perception of those percussion meeting before, 1959, and sometime the way that those meeting would end up when somebody would sing something which was of an offending meaning to any participant. So I did start drumming the hard way by trying to make sense of all the complex articulation that the soloing congero, was developing around the two other percussionists, salidor congero, the clave, the any other which would be playing in the ensemble. A lot of times people there would be screaming because somebody did something out this world and I would be like somebody who is talking with a Chinese person and not translation. At one point reaching 5 years of age, the Clave, and everything else would started making sense to me. Also the complex articulation of the African Patterns played for the folkloric percussionists. Been born in, 1954, around the time that I was 11 years old, I started getting into drumming, ( which loaned drums), from school friends and all the drumming beats of the Rock music and Cuban Music, would seems like a piece of cake to me, so I could get the beats fairly well. Without abandoning the folkloric research and learning of the African and Afro Cuban development, I got into Rock and Jazz since 1968. Rock, because I would make more money playing, Rock for private parties, than the $ 150.00 pesos, per month, (base payment at that time). Jazz, because it was part of the Cuban musical scenario for long time. Playing just two private party per month would get me, 250 to 300 pesos per month, (depending the configuration of the band). Which whom I was jamming Jazz in Cuba?, which the best jammers, but I would mention only three of them for easy research, Paquito D’ Revera,( here in the U. S., Chucho Valdez, whenever he was available, ( still in Cuba), and horns players like, Arturo Sandoval, ( here in the U. S.). At one point they were looking for a drummer for the, E. N. A.,( National School of Arts in Cuba), and some of the musicians forming that band located me to play with the band, ( we would get away playing Jazz in that band, because we won several competition representing that school in festivals). And we also get away with using the school instruments and equipment, to play private parties as long as we would take care of it. The band had a Trombon, Sax and trumpet players and they would get any opportunity to jam their solos. Continued Your brother, Gerry Zaragemca

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Posted: January 18, 2014 09:03 AM

Zaragemca

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  • Total Posts: 48
  • Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2011

Continue. The first important feature of a good place for the Guaguanco / Rumba meeting, is the cooperation of everybody who live around, so not body would call the police because the noise, or if the police would come, (mostly before, 1959), not body would know anything). In several places the drums would be confiscated if the police have to go there for any problem. In the particular place were I was born, the sponsor of the meeting was, Olga Moret, which was famous all over Habana for selling the most delicious tamales, (they made a song about her in Cuba). In places where they were playing the Guaguanco / Rumba, in Cuba, it would be a group of friends and other people trying to have a good time. That was not the purpose in the place where I was born, the purpose there was to compete, and find out every week who would come out with something to top somebody else, (the competition was in relation to the improvisation of lyrics and the articulation of the solos by the (rumberos). They would come from different places and neighborhood, to see, or to compete. The security was provide by several high ranking individual from the, Abakuas Societies, anybody coming new to the place would be told the rules of behaviors. (Smoking grass), would be in the men’s bathroom, or the roof of the place, not in front of the childrens which were there observing the show. Any problems, would be taking care someplace else, not there. Anybody which was to drunk and started talking in, ‘Egyptian languages’, would be ask to go home and comeback next week, the beer was provide by the same lady which provide the food, and if somebody want it, Sugar Cane Run, also could be bought it, by shots, or by bottle. If somebody would request, a Cuban Sandwich, that could be provided, FROM THE ORIGINAL PLACE WHICH MADE THE SANDWICH FAMOUS IN CUBA, which was in my neighborhood. The singers and the players which would show originality would get the pockets full of bills,($), and the notification that a beer or a, ‘Rum shot’, was coming to their way. There was not such thing as listen to what somebody else did, and trying to do the same thing, these people there would know what other people did before, they were expert in Guaguanco, so do not even try, that would not get you to the bills,($), or the invitation to a beer. In any average Sunday from around, 10 am, to 9 pm, around, ( 100 to 180), people would show up to the place. Some of the people would come early because their work, some of the people would come after work. They didn’t use drums, the last thing anybody wanted is that the police would show up for any reason and to lose a real drum, they would have check furniture shelves,( which sound es they like it), wooden case of beer, or a cajon, (the cajon was never confiscated because it could be switched to a night stand in a room). The betting would be also practice, which people even bringing their own percussionists group to win. Early in the morning the people which were living in the building, but didn’t care about a great Guaguanco Rumba show, would made plans to stay out of the place the whole day. Continued. Gerry Zaragemca

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