Amplify’d from blackstarliners.blogspot.com
Candombe (can-dome-bey) is the African derived rhythm that has been an important part of Uruguayan culture for over two hundred years.
Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, was founded by the Spanish in a process that was begun in 1724 and completed in 1730. African slaves were first introduced to the city in 1750. The roots of this population were not homogeneous, but rather a multi-ethnic swath of Africa that was culturally quite varied. 71% were sourced from the Bantu area, from Eastern and Equatorial Africa, while the rest came from non-Bantu Western Africa: Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and the Gold Coast (what is today Ghana)
Candombe is what survives of the ancestral heritage of Bantu roots, brought by the blacks arriving at the Río de la Plata. The term is generic for all black dances: synonymous with and evoking the rituals of the race. Its musical spirit sums up the sorrows of the unfortunate slaves.
During colonial times, the newly arrived Africans called their drums tangó, and used this term to refer to the place where they gathered to perform their candombe dances; by extension, the dances themselves were also called tangós. With the word tangó, they defined the place, the instrument, and the dance of the blacks.
It was the voice of the old "tatas" of candombe from the middle of the last century, bellowing in the halls of black clandestine gatherings, sons and grandsons of those brought over in the holds of the slave ships. While their culture was quickly repressed by the Spanish, their need for expression and liberation, was maintained through their Tambor.
The Tambor of candombe is the presence of ancestral Africa in Uruguay.
The tango developed simultaneously in Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Although typically regarded as the creation of Italian and Spanish immigrants, the tango's music and the dance movements associated with it were deeply influenced by African dance and music.
Candombe is performed by a group of drummers called a cuerda. The barrel-shaped drums, or tamboriles, have specific names according to their size and function: chico (small, high timbre, marks the tempo), repique (medium, syncopation and improvisation) and piano (large, low timbre, melody). An even larger drum, called bajo or bombo (very large, very low timbre, accent on the fourth beat), was once common but is now declining in use. A cuerda at a minimum needs three drummers, one on each part. A full cuerda will have 50-100 drummers, commonly with rows of seven or five drummers, mixing the three types of drums. A typical row of five can be piano-chico-repique-chico-piano, with the row behind having repique-chico-piano-chico-repique and so on to the last row.
Tamboriles are made of wood with animal skins that are rope-tuned or fire-tuned minutes before the performance. They are worn at the waist with the aid of a shoulder strap called a talig or talí and played with one stick and one hand.
A key rhythmic figure in candombe is the clave (in 3-2 form). It is played on the side of the drum, a procedure known as "hacer madera" (literally, "making wood").
A full candombe group, collectively known as a comparsa or candomblera, comprises the cuerda, a group of female dancers known as mulatas, and several stock characters, each with their own specific dances. The stock characters include:
La Mama Vieja ("Old Mother"), the matriarch
El Gramillero ("Medicine Man"), Mama Vieja's husband, responsible for health and well-being
El Escobero or Escobillero ("Stick Holder"), who carries a long magical wooden stick that he uses to create new ways and possibilities for the future.
Candombe is performed regularly in the streets of old Montevideo's south neighbourhood in January and February, during Uruguay's Carnival period, and also in the rest of the country. All the comparsas, of which there are 80 or 90 in existence, participate in a massive Carnival parade with candombe sessions known as las Llamadas ("the calls").
as the first (and not the last) taste of Candombe one of the most authentic and characteristic recordings of the genre
live during the carnival los Musicos de la Republica
See this Amp at http://amplify.com/u/deh7