My Cuban Radio  

Johnny Conga


Johnny Conga, a Volcano Percussion endorser, has been performing for 50 years, as a “multi-percussionist-specialist”, in the Art of Afro-Cuban/Caribbean drumming and Latin Jazz music. Creator of A Hand to Drum Productions/Online Learning. Johnny comes from the Bronx, New York. Born of a Cuban father and an Italian mother, he grew up in a household of music and dancing. He first learned to play the bongos at age 6 from a Cuban uncle. In public school he played flute for 3 years, and then the drum came into his life at 14 years of age. By the time he was 16 he was in his first band with Joe Panama, then with vibist Felipe “Phil” Diaz. The rest is musical history. Some of the artists that “JC” have worked with cover the gamut of “styles” in music. Here is a short list: Carlos Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Sergio Mendes & Brasil 77, Paquito D’Riviera, The Jackson 5, Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria, Cerrone(France), Gloria Gaynor, Johnny Pacheco, Dave Valentine and over 100 other major artist’s in the United States and abroad.

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Creator of the A Hand to Drum Productions/Online Learning course to provide online instruction on the Conga drum.

The syllabus includes the Cuban method of learning how to play the Conga drums and the multitude of rhythms and styles of Cuban, African, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Brazilian music. What is taught is up to 100 Afro-Cuban/Caribbean rhythms and modern styles in a variety of music genres.

Part of what I teach is Cognitive Discovery -A new way of learning how to learn, and program yourself with the drum. 

  • Hand balancing and Hand exercises which includes rudimentary exercises
  • Sound development and hand technique
  • The use of the 5 points of the hand- Heel/Palm/Fulcrum/Inner Knuckles/Tip of fingers
  • Counting and reading for Conga drum
  • The Clave and concepts in Clave
    Notation for Conga drumming
  • Odd time playing-5 7 9
  • CongaRobics™ for advanced players
  • Also included in the learning is how to play are Timbales, Bongos and assorted African and Brazilian percussion
  • Folkloric Drum performance ensemble with 3 or more drummers