Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson
(Nanigo/Bembe)

The Afro-Cuban 6/8 comes from folkloric west-African music called the bembe or nanigo. Rhythms based in 6/8 are common in Africa. The bembe, derived from the word bembes which are religious gatherings, became popular in Cuba and retained it's original rhythms and instrumentation. The bembe is popular amongst the Yoruba tribes in Nigeria, which is where most of the African population in Cuba came from. The bembe rhythm is shown below.

Bembe Rhythm

Bembe Rhythm

Abakwa

Abakwa or abakua is a secret male society in Cuba that plays the abakwa rhythm. It is not traditionally played against the bembe pattern but has become a common rhythmic motif for soloing in 6/8. The abakwa rhythm is shown below.

Abakwa Rhythm

Abakwa Rhythm

This drum lesson adapts the bembe to the drum set and includes modern variations.

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  1. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 1
  2. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 2
  3. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 3
  4. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 4
  5. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 5
  6. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 6
  7. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 7
  8. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 8
  9. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 9
  10. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 10
  11. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 11
  12. Lesson Afro Cuban 6/8 Drum Lesson Exercise 12