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These are two small, wooden cylinder drums that are fitted together and covered with calf skin on one side. Contrary to the "congas", which supply the "bass" in the rhythm, bongos have a little more freedom to improvise, are much higher in pitch and supply the "top end" of the rhythm. The bongos, played with fingers and hands, are traditionally held between the knees with the smaller, higher drum (macho), to the left and the larger, lower drum (hembra), to the right. In traditional Cuban music, the "bongosero" (bongo player), also plays the "campana" (cow bell) in sections where the rhythm is to be more predominant.

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The WORLD BEATS video features live, costumed performances of ancient, ethnic, percussive traditions. Aaron Plunkett puts it all together in this fascinating 33 minute program. SEE MORE...

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