Latin for Drummies #06 Adding the Hihat w/ foot

Candombe is the heritage of enslaved Africans in the Rio de la Plata area. Originally it was played with four drums made of barrels and leather as the drumhead. Nowadays, it comes with three handmade drums, but… how do you play Candombe on your drum set?.

We have developed our first Candombe pattern:

How about hihat w/foot figures?

When we play the ostinato on the ride cymbal, our hihat’s foot is free. So we can play different figures with it. Let’s check some possibilities:

1.- Pulse

Besides the popular concept of pulse. This is a very important element of Candombe.
When you play Candombe in its traditional context. You stand on your feet with your drum in front of you, hanging from your shoulder.
You start walking, making one step to the front first, and then, another step with your other foot (of course!) but this step ends besides the previous one, not going forward!
And rhythmically, the steps to the front are in first and third pulse and the steps accompanying in every second and fourth pulse.
The hihat playing pulse, has a direct relation with the rhythmic pattern made with your feet when you walk playing Candombe.

Applying this to our groove:

2.- “and”

In order to make a more “jazzy” groove. You can add a hihat figure in every “and” of each pulse:

3.- Madera

We can play also the original “Madera” pattern (similar to 3-2 Son Clave):