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Rhythm A Day Blog for March 4, 2020: Birthday of Emilio Estefan

Posted by Wolf Murphy on

 Birthday of Emilio Estefan

Emilio Estefan Gómez was born on March 4, 1953. He is a Cuban-American musician and producer who has won 19 count 'em NINETEEN Grammy Awards. The band Miami Sound Machine brought him to prominence in the US and later Internationally.

He is the husband of singer Gloria Estefan. The story is that Gloria suggested that they should write an English-language Conga to access a larger music scene, and Emilio saw the potential and promptly wrote the song we know and love.

Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan at 2014 MIFF

Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan at the 2014 Miami International
Film Festival presentation of "An Unbreakable bond"
(Photo: World Red Eye/Wikimedia Commons)

Here is the official music video of the song. Emilio is the Conga player in the video.

Let's play some of the foundational parts from Conga

Estefan's Conga is a fascinating mix of Latin rhythmic elements. Most Conga rhythms are based on Rumba Clave; Estefan's relies more on a straight Son Clave feel—check out the Wood Block rhythm. The Kit drum bass line is derived from traditional Bombo drum rhythms for Conga Orientale (as presented in Howard Linn's Cuban Conga Drumming). The greyed notes in the notation are just to show the shared notes in the patterns.

Today's Video Lesson

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