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Afro-Cuban Lyrics In Clave

by Dave Crowder

This is what every Afro-Cuban musician needs, an easy-to-read script developed using the Time Unit Box System for notation where syllables are lined up and anchored around the beat and strikes of clave and bell. This book allows the person first learning the song to learn the correct percussive placement of syllables, the key missing ingredient in most books of lyrics. Now you can learn the song while simultaneously playing clave or bell. This book is separated into songs for Bembe, Iyesá, Yambu, Guaguancò, Columbia, Comparsa, Abakua, Palo, and Makuta.


Animal Dreams didjeridu CD

by Dave Crowder

Initially learning to play didjeridu from a previous Science student in 1995, Dave is a school teacher with a musical slant. Having been inspired and influenced by nature and the hypnotic rhythms of the Mid-East, Africa, & the Caribbean, he has been a member of the rock fusion band BushTic and many world fusion ensembles. After his involvement in several different CD projects as a guest musician, he gained the confidence to eventually release his first self-produced CD called Animal Dreams November 2002. ” Where rhythm & percussion fuse with world instruments and the sounds of nature!”


Hand Drumming Music Notation

It is our hope that this particular form of notation spreads through the hand drumming music community. Most hand drumming notation sites use “X”s and “O”s, or boxes with long illogical explanations for handedness & technique. Also, they’re usually incomplete (don’t include all the drum & bell parts), or aren’t accurate enough to get the “feel” of the music.

Thus, we offer this for posterity’s sake. All repertoire below is free, though it is HIGHLY recommended that you read David’s study guide first. It will greatly help in understanding this unique notation.

Afro-Cuban Conga Study Group 7/03
Dave Crowder

Conga Techniques By Dave Lyons


Song Files

2 Ellegua Songs 2020

Guiro for Oya 2012

Bata Osain 2012

Iyesa 2015

Yambu Jan3-09



Segments of the David Peñalosa Interview: a review of Clave Matrix

Three Against Two

Three Against Two in the Book Clave Matrix

The Driving Concept behind African Rhythms

His Latest book Rumba Quinto

Videos of My Music


Compa Galletano Rumba

Based on what Pedrito Martinez, Puntilla, Potato, and Roman Diaz played in the Calle 54 recordings on Compa Galletano. Dave on Vocals, Percussion and the production. André Rogers and Mike Spencer on quinto. Mike also helps on Coro. Thanks Central Park Rumba and Calle 54 for inspiring us to better ourselves! A tremendously difficult song to mimic. Lyrics and the original sound sample can be found here: Compa Galletano Lyrics

Ellegua Yantopa & Agongo Laro

Based on Lazaro Galarraga’s interpretations. Two drum caja lead is my own invention. Kachimbo comes from Bob Scarlett, Gary Greenberg, and Mike Spiro. The rest is pretty standard bembe. Artwork: Wurzeldieb Artwork
Lyrics can be found here: Orisha Lyrics

Yemaya Orobinilayeo Guiro

Yemayá is the Yoruban orisha of motherhood and the sea. The vocals were recorded in January ’23 with Eric Walker’s help on coro. The caja, three shakers, and bell I added in February. Lyrics found here: Yemaya Lyrics. Thanks for the image provided by Revista SMITE’s Facebook page.

Palo Congo Bilongo

Original inspiration for this project was Dave Lyons, whose lyrics sheet we used, and Geoff Johns’s Palo on the Bakongo album provided the template. Support parts and some of the Caja come from Gary Greenberg who learned this mula and kachimbo from Miguel Bernal. Eric Walker stands in for some Coro and played shaker on the same track as the bell. Song by Bakongo and lyrics can be found here:
Palo Bilongo Lyrics
Drum transcrip: Palo Drum Transcription

Oye Mis Cantares

September 2022 These songs are transcribed here: Yambu Songs . Also, the original impetus for this project, “Ave Maria”, is included at the end of this song.


Recorded & edited by Paul Constantine July of 2022. Dave plays all instruments and sings calls and responses. Lyrics for these songs by “Ritmo Y Canto” can be found here: Columbia Ritmos Y Canto

Dada, Orisha Oko, Iroko

These songs are transcribed here: Dada . Iroko comes from John Santos’s CD Hacia El Amor on the track “Ellegua-Iroko” as sung by Reynalda Nuñez. The percussion parts aside from caja come from Dave Lyons, and the caja comes from Gary Greenberg via his source – Regino Jimenez. Tree images seemed the obvious choice, Iroko, being the orisha of the tree. Orisha Oko is an Orisha of the hunt, fertility, and growth of food. And Dada is the patron of the good, beautiful, and satisfied. This Dada song comes from a combination of Arturo Rodriquez’s “Bembe Conversations”, Daniel Lopez, & Jans Ingber’s interpretations.


These songs are “fundamento” in bata, meaning they are sung to specific bata rhythms, so this is an interpretive hybrid done over guaguanco. It wasn’t until 2021 that I learned this placement of these songs in the latter half of clave. Thanks to Dave for the quinto track and audio advice! Thanks to Ron Sill for some of the forest images. Osain Lyrics and sound file of the great Lazaro Galarraga can be found here: Osain Lyrics


I learned these Yewa songs taking classes from Bobi Cespedes in 2022. These traditional bembe drum parts come from Dave Lyons and Sandy Perez.

Come Wind Come Rain

A simple folk song done by Vashti Bunyan called “Come Wind Come Rain” with me dubbed in. This is how I study music, putting in the miles recording and honing it is an education, and this song was calling out to me!

Oya Rezo

Just some Oya Rezos, but done over clave and a guaguanco. My friend André was enlisted to play the quinto. The bottom end is lost on computer speakers. Better with Headphones. Here’s some written music:


These Arara songs are some of my favorite songs in the Cuban repertoire. I hope you feel the love that I do for these beautiful songs! I first heard Sarago and Agomado on Arturo Rodriguez’s Interact and Learn Mel Bay Bembe CD/Instruction manual. Dave Lyons shared his versions which are influenced more by Lazaro Ross. Also, the four drum Bembe is his creation. Sieno Magwa Eh comes from a combination of Jeff Porter and John Santos’s Hacia El Amor. Stylistically, the harmonies and heart is influenced mainly by my favorite Afro-Cuban singer Lazaro Galarraga. The notation for these three songs can be found here:

Guaguanco Congo Yambumba

Scott – Clave, 3 Daves – Quinto, Tumba, Vocals, Chris – Kata, & Eric – Tres Dos, playing Los Muñequito’s version of Congo Yambumba at the Nederland Farmer’s Market August 8th 2021.


Dave Crowder, Dave Lyons, Maurizio Capparelli, Thomas Vanschoik, Dave Stevens Sr, Dave Stevens Jr, Eric Walker, Mike Spencer, all play an Iyesa on Bata, Conga, and Bongo. Songs are for Ochun and Ellegua. This small performance was at the Nov. Souper Supper at Louisville Middle School Colorado 2011.


Bamboche plays a bembe for an African Girl’s Sega School fundraiser benefit. At 2:30, Fara and his brother dance for Ogun. Nov. 17th 2010


Dave Crowder, Dave Lyons, and Janis Kelly sing a few Arara, then Lukumi songs to Asoyin and Babaluaye. This small performance was at the Nov. 14th Souper Supper at Louisville Middle School Colorado 2012.



Bamboche playing a fundraiser for a new Waldorf School in Niwot CO Feb 5th 2011. This song is the Cuban “Congo Yambumba”.



This is Bamboche playing Iyesa for the Waldorf school fundraiser in Niwot Colorado on Feb. 5th 2011. The first set of songs led by Dave Lyons are to Ochun, and the second set led by Eric Walker are to Ellegua.


Boulder Bamboche Study Group 8-4-17. Mike is just back from Cuba and wants to record some quinto for his teachers in Cuba. So, we oblige.