17 September 2006

Learning & Celebrating Candombe (CD Review)

Various Artists: Afro-Uruguayan Rhythms: Candombe
(Surmenages World Rhythms)
buy DVD/CD
Afro-Uruguayan Rhythms: Candombe
Why would someone want to parade through the streets carrying a drum big and heavy enough to hurt their back? That's the question posed by Pablo Cuña, director of "Comparasa Ruanda" on the DVD part of this percussion-drenched package. His answer: "When you start playing, one enters Candombe magic bubble, where its original religious and mystical aspects can still be found, generating an energy that makes you find your inner strengths." Grammar aside, anyone who has drummed knows what he's talking about. And while Uruguay's candombe may not be as well known as similar Brazilian or Cuban rhythms, it's no less powerful.
As the scenes of neighborhood processions show, it's the people's music. This CD/DVD combo is a great point for starting or continuing your exploration of candombe. The CD comprises 15 pure percussion tracks both solo and ensemble, so you can hear and learn about the drums separately and as an ensemble. The DVD also includes an introduction to the various drums and how to play them, along with musician interviews and scenes from candombe processions (think carnival!).
Two gripes: 1) The live procession scenes are overdubbed, so you don't get to hear the actual drumming from the groups you're watching; 2) the DVD chapters aren't quite as listed. Otherwise, this is an excellent production that should be at home in the collection of any drummer or world music fan.

[mp3] Gustavo Goldman: "Tambores"
More on candombe:
Candombe at wikipedia

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