Latin Beats: The Afro-Cuban 6/8 on the Congas and the Drums

The Afro-Cuban genre is a blend of many different styles of playing in a variety of time signatures. One of the most popular time signatures in Afro-Cuban music is the otherwise uncommon 6/8.

Any piece of music played in the 6/8 Afro-Cuban time signature takes on the characteristics of the Bembe – a word that refers to religious gatherings of singing, drumming, and dancing. This specifically African beat was originally played with bongos, shakers, bells, and other rhythmic instruments, though it can be played on the modern drum set as well.

How to Play an Afro-Cuban beat in 6/8 on Congas | Reverb Drum Lesson

You can incorporate many different Latin styles into the 6/8 Afro-Cuban time signature. For example, the 6/8 clave is a great pattern to add on the cowbell, ride bell, or hi-hats. But before you move onto those embellishments, make sure to learn the 6/8 bell pattern first. Because this is such an uncommon time signature outside of this style of music, it may take a few times to get it right.

Make sure to stick around for both videos to learn how to play the Afro-Cuban 6/8 time signature on the congas and on the drums.


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