Developing movement, placement and dynamic flow around the kit
The Songo is one of the most accessible Afro-Cuban grooves and I was introduced to it by Bob Armstrong as a method to develop my left-hand movement, placement and dynamic flow around the kit. In this month’s article we will use a traditional Songo pattern (Example 1) to help develop our left-hand or right-hand flow depending on how you lead. As the Songo is a linear-based groove ie no two limbs playing together at the same time, it’s a great excuse to run a metronome at 100bpm (4/4) and play through each line individually to really understand how all the elements work.
Use your voice to say the phrasing and phonetics to bed-in each line of theSongo groove – your voice will strengthen the application and fluidity. Once comfortable at 100bpm (4/4) we then need to change up to double time so that we really start to get the correct feel or appropriate tempo for a Songo.
As you move onto Examples 2 and 3 you will notice the additional bass drum figure in the second bars, which when played at tempo will underline the linear phrasing and tom flow. Example 4 contains a variety of ideas ie snare, side stick and tom flow – but really focus on the placement of each voicing so that the groove remains consistent. Note that in the second bar of Example 4 we stay up on the high tom until the last beat where we move to the floor. Along with the Songo, Bob Armstrong also introduced me to the incredible album OneMoreOnce by Michel Camilo, which is my recommended listening to support this month’s article.
Toby Drummond isanACM DrumTutorwho hasperformedwithartists suchasTheSeahorses, ShaunRyder,Russell Watson,RayDavies,Celia ImrieandCliffRichard. your tutor