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Uruguay : Candombe Drums

Music of the world

The former album “Uruguay : Tambores del Candombe” presented the polyrhythm of Afro-Uruguayan candombe in its most traditional shape. This new album highlights the music of the Cuareim-style drums in their present diversity: original compositions revealing the close relationship between tradition and creation, ‘vocal’ candombes in which musicians imitate the drums with their voices, some of the most famous candombes-canción arranged here for vocals and drums, as well as a few llamadas — lit. ‘calls’--— in the purest traditional style. The musicians, representative of Montevideo’s Barrio Sur tradition, are all members of the comparsa ‘C 1080’ led by Cachilla. A heritage of slavery times, the candombe (not to be mistaken with the Afro-Brazilian candomble) is first and foremost the music of the African-Uruguayan community. It comes in the shape of carnival parades and shows) on the streets of Montevideo.The three drums used in candombe music are called chico, repique and piano —actually a single drum ‘model’ coming in different sizes. It is made of skin tensed on a wooden barrel open on the other side. The drums are played with the bare left hand and a stick held in the right hand, mainly beating the skin with different strokes. Musicians sometimes hit the stick on the barrel itself (especially the repique). Suspended by a strap going around the musician’s shoulder, the drums are played in a standing position, or while marching. This album was recorded in September 2002, on the occasion of the festival Biennale de la Danse, in Lyon.