I think one of the biggest challenges, among many, for students of the Afro-Cuban drumming traditions is to learn your role within an group context.
Watching this video of Jesus Perez, Raul “Lali” Brito, John Santos, Sandy Perez, and others, I was thinking - “These guys are doing so much, and it is so clean.”
None of these masters is over playing, or stepping on another’s musical toes. They are all singing the coro. They play variations for their parts, in a tasteful manner.
Of course being a master drummer makes it look easy, and it is not, but it is a standard we should all strive for in our playing.
We should all sing when studying different parts to a rhythm. When we are at a rumba, or other gathering, we should look for ways to fit in - and that maybe be participating in the coro, if more experienced drummers are present. If you get the opportunity to play a drum, don’t over express yourself with variations. Instead, look to play clean and within clave.
I need to grow in all the mentioned areas, but this clip is an inspiration to keep working at it. The magic of the drum is incredible when expressed properly.