What Is a Conga?

Learn about the conga from the musicians at Wula Drum in this Howcast video.

Okay everybody, I’m going to give you an overview of the conga. The conga is a drum that actually comes from Cuba, but listen to this. It’s really, really from the Congo, okay? These drums that you see in front of me are drums that first originated as molasses barrels. Can you believe that? You know, molasses barrel like how they put molasses in it.

The people in Cuba change the molasses barrel to an instrument by putting a skin over it. The first congas had these pins or nails to hold the heads together. If you look here you’ll see these kind of hooks that help stretch this animal skin across the top of this chamber. The conga has two openings. It has one at the top that I was playing, and also down here at the bottom. Okay? Over the years it gets fancy, you know? It’s a beautiful instrument.

I want to show you the sounds of the conga. They are bass, tone, and slap. First the bass. Next the tone. And next the slap. If you have two drums, you have two basses. Two tones. Two slaps. You put all that together, and you start making music. The music of the conga. This has been an overview of the music of the conga.