Music. Art. Culture. Writing.
Poncho Sanchez on learning to play congas listening to Cal Tjader and Tito Puente records: Myself and Ramon Banda we went to a local park here in Los Angeles called Griffith Park. Because we heard a bunch of conga players hang out there on Sunday. So we went up the hill with the congas and all that, and sure enough there were Cubans and Puerto Ricans and they were playing nice, some nice rumbas, singing and chants. So I went up to the guy and I said, “Hey man, can I sit in next?” And he said, “Tú eres Cubano? Are you Cuban?” And I said, “No.” Then he said, “Are you Puerto Rican? Tú eres puertorriqueño?” And I said, “No.” So he said, “What are you?” And I told him, “I’m a Mexican-American, I’m Chicano.” So he goes, “Chicanos can’t play congas!” He kept on playing and I said, “How do you know? You haven’t heard me yet!