RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • The Bongos by Norbert Goldberg (October 1985 Percussive Notes)

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | May 29, 2023

    This intro to the bongos is from the October 1985 issue of Percussive Notes.

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  • KoSA Cuba Drum & Percussion Workshop in Havana

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | May 22, 2023

    KoSA Cuba 2023

    In March, KoSA Music's international participants ranging in age from 22–70 years young had a chance to study with some of Cuba's best artists, such as Oliver Valdes (drum set), Panga (congas), Adel Gonzales (congas and timbales), El Peje (drum set), Dyron (conga and timbales), Roelvis Reyez (drum set), and Dr. Olavo Alen Rodriguez (ethnomusicologist). Dr. Olavo's seminar on the history of Cuban music and culture was a real eye-opener to many first-time participants visiting this beautiful island, and KoSA's organized walking tours of historic centers of Havana further contextualized this fascinating history. 

    Besides intimate hands-on classes, attendees were able to soak up the sounds of the talented artists featured in the evening concerts of the Fiesta del Tambor (The Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival). The esteemed artists featured this year included Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Anthony Bravo, Brenda Navarrete y su grupo, and Compania JJ. 

    A highlight of the week was the special Sabian/Gon Bops night, which featured many of Cuba's top drummers and percussionists.

    Other concerts throughout the week were The Drummers of Burundi, the National Competition winners, Grupo Mas con Menos, Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Yordys Larrazabat Y Lele Van Van, Maraton Rumbero, Ronald Y Explosion Rumbera, Orquestra Manolito Simonet y Su Trabajo, Alexander Abreu y Habana De Primera, Osain del Monte, and Mykel Blanco Y Salsa Mayor. 

  • Button Gongs

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | May 18, 2023

    The terms “gong” and “tam-tam” are often used interchangeably. Technically, gongs have an identifiable pitch while tam-tams are indefinite-pitched instruments having a wider spectrum of overtones. 

    A gong with a raised “boss” in its center is often called a button gong, and such instruments are prominent in Javanese gamelan orchestras.

    21 Inch Gong

    21" Thai button gong, with etched face and mallet. On loan from Randall Eyles
    Button Gong

    Detailed view of a button gong, showing the deep side flange, raised center boss, and ornamented face and side. Donated by Keith Aleo

    Seven Gongs

    Set of seven button gongs from the Philippines, ranging in diameter from 6" to 7 1/2", displayed around a highly-ornate 14" button gong. Donated by Keith Aleo


    Learn more about percussion history and historical instruments in the Rhythm! Discovery Center online collection, always available to the public at

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