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Uruguayan Music: Candombe


Candombe is a Uruguayan musical style which was originated in Montevideo by its African citizens during the slavery times, in the 18th century. These citizens would play this style of music during parades which would be a major form of expression of their culture, and which, as time passed by, became one of the main components of the Uruguayan culture, in such a way that nowadays can often be seen and heard in the streets of Montevideo. During the Uruguayan carnaval season, many comparsas (groups of people playing candombe) parade in some of the most important cultural events of the country.

Candombe music: characteristics

The candombe is based on african rythms and is made with three different types of drums: the piano, the repique, and the chico. These drums, called tamboriles, are made of wood in the base and lonja in the top. The lonja is heated before playing music, and the music is played with one hand and one stick.

people from a comparsa group playing candombe, Montevideo, Uruguay -

Picture of people from a comparsa group playing candombe, Montevideo, Uruguay


The rhythm of this music is so strong and vibrating that is almost impossible to remain still when we are next to a comparsa playing it. Sometimes, small comparsas play candombe in different neighborhoods of Montevideo, and some people come out from their houses to watch them or even walk a bit with them accompanying them.



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