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Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" is one of the earliest examples of Afro-Cuban jazz. (Herman Leonard)

Latin Roots: The Conga

Nov 15, 2012 (WXPN-FM)

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In this edition of "Latin Roots," Alt.Latino correspondent Felix Contreras discusses the history and the impact of the conga — or more properly known as the tumbadora — in Cuba and abroad. Originally from Africa, the conga became a critical instrument in Afro-Cuban religious culture.

Contreras talks about the varying techniques and styles one can produce with the conga — and gives a short demonstration in our studio. From guaguancó to rumba and the cha-cha-chá, the instrument is fundamental to a number of different rhythms.

Listen to the "Latin Roots" conga playlist on Spotify.

Latin Roots from World Cafe is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

Copyright 2014 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit


  • Felix Contreras, "Conga Demo"
  • Dizzy Gillespie, "Manteca"
  • Giovanni Hidalgo, "The Conga"

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