Funkifying the Clave

I was 16 years old when I first learned how to play “real” Afro-Cuban and Latin grooves. Prior to that, my only exposure to anything close to that style of music was hearing Santana’s cover of “Oye Como Va” on the radio. You have to keep in mind, I grew up in Iowa.

Robby Ameen
Robby Ameen

Pete Simonson, my drum teacher at the time, wanted to help expand my vocabulary of grooves beyond the borders of FM radio. He recommended that I check out a new instructional book called “Funkifying the Clave”. It was written by NYC heavyweights, drummer Robby Ameen and bassist Lincoln Goines and featured a play-along cassette tape (really, I’m not THAT old).

From Mozambique to Guaguanco to Songo grooves, I spent the next six months with my head inside of that book, eating nothing but beans and rice and rarely playing the bass drum on one. This was definitely an import period in my development as a musician.


Loop #44

Today’s loop is one of the songo grooves that I first learned fifteen years ago. I’ve taken some small liberties with the basic pattern, but for the most part, it’s the beat transcribed below.

Basic Songo Pattern
Basic Songo Pattern

Preview Here:


Download the Logic session here. (45MB)

Get the .wav file here. (with piano)

Get the .wav file here. (drums only)

112 BPM

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