BY ANDY DOERSCHUK

A new book addressing the growing interest in hand drums and Latin rhythms offers a close examination of the Afro-Cuban rumba, its key instruments, and its “salsa” derivatives from a decidedly unusual perspective.

Outlining an unsuspected analogy between the graphic laws of perspective and the acoustical depth effects enabled by polyrhythmic structures based on Cuban “claves,” architect-author Jorge Pardo follows through with a thought-provoking theory of rhythmic positions which maps the emotional excitement they provoke on listeners and dancers.

True to its declared intent of unveiling the concealed sophistication inherent in Afro-Cuban rhythms and enhancing their exposure, Conga Drums In Time And Space narrates the development of Pardo’s own HDN, a simple and accessible iconography claimed to be “a definitive system of notation for hand drums,” that lets percussionists of all levels sight read two-handed patterns in a matter of minutes.

The practical fruit of the preceding concepts is a valuable “Handbook of Tumbaos,” an anthology of authentic Afro-Cuban patterns and practice charts for one to three performers presented as a bonus destination to this intriguing rhythmic journey.

“Conga Drums in Time and Space” is published in English and Spanish bilingual edition, available in e-book and soft cover at $46.95 from Archway Publishing. archwaypublishing.com

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