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realclearworld

“The Mozart of the Congas” (UPDATE)

A wonderful article in The Miami Herald -- surprise! -- about C?ndido Camero, conga virtuoso. Here's a taste:

The Mozart of the congas is a legend and a gentleman

His might not be a household name, but Cuban artist C?ndido Camero long ago took conga playing to a new level. Tonight, he brings his show to Miami.

BY LYDIA MARTIN

NEW YORK - Conga legend C?ndido Camero inches around his tidy Upper West Side apartment, cane in hand, in search of this memento and that.

He speaks like he walks. Cautiously. Unhurriedly.

But put him behind his three glossy white congas and suddenly, he's not 84 anymore. Suddenly, he's not hunched over anymore. Suddenly, he's on fire.

People talk about drummers making their congas sing. Camero invented the concept. In the early 1950s, he was the first to play two, then three congas at the same time. Before him, cats played just one. He tuned them differently and coaxed melody out of them, fingers dancing on skins like a piano. In a famed 1950s recording with pianist Joe Loco, he made three congas and a bongo sing Tea for Two.

Read the whole article here.

UPDATE 8/13/2005: From a reader, here is a picture of the great C?ndido Camero.

5 comments to “The Mozart of the Congas” (UPDATE)