This month, I’m going to present two authentic Peruvian cajon rhythms – the valse (Ex. 1) and the lando (Ex. 2). Neither should be played at a fast tempo, but the valse is generally slower than the lando. So don’t rush! Feel the pulse at around 80 bpm. Once you’re comfortable with each pattern, try reversing the sticking. That way, you’ll be able to perfect open and tap tones with each hand. To get an idea of how these rhythms sound in a group context, listen to recordings by artists such as Eva Ayon and Susana Baca.
RICHIE "GAJATE" GARCIA has played with Phil Collins, Diana Ross, Hiroshima, and John Denver; recorded movie soundtracks; taught at Musician's Institute for ten years, and performs clinics worldwide.