MUSICAL STYLE

Conga

The term Conga refers to both a style of music and the dance that accompanies the music, as well as an Afro-Cuban instrument, the conga drum (traditionally called the tumbadora).

Originating out of the city of Santiago in Cuba, the conga became a popular festival dance in which members of the audience would join in line with the comparsas (performing musicians and dancers). The infectious line dance, which features a distinctive African-inspired rhythm, became popular with lower class Cubans, particularly Blacks and was banned in the 1920s and '30s in some Cuban cities, including Santiago.

However, during this time White Cuban pianist and composer Eliseo Grenet brought the conga craze to international audiences in Paris, London and New York and it has remained popular ever since. Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine further strengthened the Conga craze with their 1986 hit, Conga, and the line dance is now a ubiquitous party classic.

La Conga Poster
Mongo Santamaría
Mongo Santamaría's Hands
Mongo Santamaría's Poster at the Fillmore
The Latin Grammy Awards
Desi Arnaz
The Modern Conga Line
The Conga Line
Little Havana
Carter de Mongo Santamaría