A Tune for Tuesday: “Cumbamba”


“Cumbamba” by Jose Conde

on “Jazz Playground” CD by Putumayo

I first discovered the music of Jose Conde on the
unbelievably fabulous CD with the absolutely
fabulous name of “Salsa for Kittens and Puppies.”
(I’m sure I’ll be writing more about that later!) Conde
is a Cuban-American composer and musician and
this piece is just infectiously appealing.

The rhythm is insanely catchy and has a curvy
feeling to it. Sometimes I have my classes improvise
a curvy dance to it – curving their pointer fingers,
their hands, their arms, and so on. Other times, I 
use this piece for instrumental improvisation. It
lends itself particularly well to maracas and 
tambourines, since their sound is less sharp and
more fluid than some other rhythm instruments.

Children always enjoy dancing and playing with
“Cumbamba.” You’ll see them instinctively 
humming along with the melody, long after the
piece is over. 


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