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.