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  #1  
Old 01-14-2018, 06:49 PM
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Default Networking tips?

So as some of you know, I just recently left a band and the capacity of being the conga player/percussionist.

My main reasoning was being a pop music latin percussionist really means you're not really playing anything the song actually needs (kinda like being that second saxophone player in a big band).

However, I still have this great set of congas, and I do like playing them for traditional Latin music.

What I'd like to do is network with Latin music players - and I may already have the answers on how to do that. However, even here in Southern California, which is already a large melting pot of musicians from other cultures, let's just say there are ethnic boundaries up and in place. And without this getting into a race discussion, how does an Asian-looking Hawaiian guy who doesn't speak Spanish network with people in the Latin jazz scene?

I know we all aspire to being a race-less culture, but let's face it; when you see music being marketed, it's hard not to see the stereotypes in the industry: Latin bands are usually made up of Latinos, an R&B funk band would mainly be of African-American descent (with the exception of John Robinson when he played with Rufus). Even when I see a Hawaiian ukulele/acoustic band, they're mostly made up of Pacific Islanders. [On a side note of sexism, how many pop-rock cover bands out there feature the lone female singer? I know this is almost de riguer for bands performing where I work].

I do know that there are bands with all kinds of ethnicities within them, but still, even in 2018, for the most part, most of them tend to be a unified showing of a particular ethnicity - imagine if the Jackson Five had an occasional sub in the lineup (or the Osmonds, for that matter). Perhaps Thin Lizzy from the 70s were close to a huge act with a mix of ethnicity, right?

I don't mean to start some controversial racial discussion, I'm just asking those of you who've managed to join traditional bands of other ethnic origin, what are your thoughts of getting out to meet these people to let them know you play? I have theories, but so far have made no head-way.

If we can have this discussion without people flying off the rails, then let's discuss. If this starts to go south, I'll shut down the thread.
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2018, 07:37 PM
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MrPockets MrPockets is offline
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Grow a beard, smoke cigars, wear gold chains, and wear a newsboy hat. BAM! you are Poncho Sanchez.

Here in MN, my jazz prof (the whitest man alive) is a trombone player for a Latin band. The entire horn section, guitarist, pianist, and bassist are Caucasian. The singers, congalero, and (I think) the timbali player are all Cubans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tODXSiLdPA

Maybe just have a video of you playing conga patterns to show others you have skill?
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Last edited by MrPockets; 01-14-2018 at 07:58 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2018, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

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Originally Posted by MrPockets View Post
Grow a beard, smoke cigars, wear gold chains, and wear a newsboy hat. BAM! you are Poncho Sanchez.

Here in MN, my jazz prof (the whitest man alive) is a trombone player for a Latin band. The entire horn section, guitarist, and bassist are Caucasian. The singers, congalero, and (I think) the timbali player are all Cubans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tODXSiLdPA

Maybe just have a video of you playing conga patterns to show others you have skill?
Perhaps this will be the only way to go without getting into a controversial discussion. (Perhaps I'm using this thread to hide any conga deficiencies ;)
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

My first time in the recording studio was in an all black band at Henry Smiths recording studios in east Oakland(it doesn't get anymore hood than that).

Try some jam sessions:
https://www.meetup.com/PasadenaSalsaMusicians/

https://www.lajazz.com/jam-sessions.html

Go to the local GC and put up posters.

And try CL

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/se...uc?query=salsa
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Last edited by pgm554; 01-14-2018 at 08:12 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2018, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Tough one.

In the Latin music world, the music isn't just about race or language, it's about an ingrained part of their culture and heritage.

And even some of the most casual latin bands have guys who've been playing congas since they day they were born.

But there are always bound to be exceptions.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pgm554 View Post
My first time in the recording studio was in an all black band at Henry Smiths recording studios in east Oakland(it doesn't get anymore hood than that).

Try some jam sessions:
https://www.meetup.com/PasadenaSalsaMusicians/

https://www.lajazz.com/jam-sessions.html

Go to the local GC and put up posters.

And try CL

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/se...uc?query=salsa
Thanks for those links. I suppose I can try that old school method. Hell, my new band found me from a profile on BandMix.com that I put up about 10 years ago! I totally forgot all about it.

I'm working on some videos first.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Tough one.

In the Latin music world, the music isn't just about race or language, it's about an ingrained part of their culture and heritage.

And even some of the most casual latin bands have guys who've been playing congas since they day they were born.

But there are always bound to be exceptions.
This is what I've discovered as well. It's like I'm not considered "real" because I wasn't born into a set of congas.

It's just so hard when I think of not doing percussion as a way to spice up pop songs. In a Latin band, the congeuro is the guy holding it together. Like the drum set in an American pop band- that's what I want to do. I appreciate the work of guys like Ralph MacDonald who've supplied needed percussion to pop songs, but to be Poncho Sanchez driving his own band must be a total hoot!
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2018, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Thanks for those links. I suppose I can try that old school method. Hell, my new band found me from a profile on BandMix.com that I put up about 10 years ago! I totally forgot all about it.

I'm working on some videos first.
Don't know about SoCal,but up here in the bay area there are many Latin drum circles at places like Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus and the Berkeley BART station in south Berkeley that have free form jams every weekend.
You get to know who is doing what and where.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T92zwdBGxhA
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:59 AM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
This is what I've discovered as well. It's like I'm not considered "real" because I wasn't born into a set of congas.

It's just so hard when I think of not doing percussion as a way to spice up pop songs. In a Latin band, the congeuro is the guy holding it together. Like the drum set in an American pop band- that's what I want to do. I appreciate the work of guys like Ralph MacDonald who've supplied needed percussion to pop songs, but to be Poncho Sanchez driving his own band must be a total hoot!
Take some lessons! You may or may not benefit musically from some serious study with a well-known and authentic conguero, but the human interaction should hopefully help to break down these walls.
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2018, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Take some lessons! You may or may not benefit musically from some serious study with a well-known and authentic conguero, but the human interaction should hopefully help to break down these walls.
I do have Poncho Sanchezsí phone number.....
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  #11  
Old 01-15-2018, 04:42 AM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is online now
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Default Re: Networking tips?

I think you got an advantage as music is one of the best things for bringing people together. Even looking back 50+ years people who were good musicians would get together just to play. It didn't matter the background.

Try posting an ad. We use Kijiji in Canada, but it's the same as craigslist etc. I see musicians looking for bands, bands looking for musicians all the time. Be honest about your abilities and it should work great. I have jammed with people from all over the map and am grateful for it.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Just stumbled on this cool article :)

http://drummagazine.com/the-power-of-networking/
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2018, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Just stumbled on this cool article :)

http://drummagazine.com/the-power-of-networking/
I could've just taken you to lunch ;)
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2018, 10:20 PM
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Living Dead Drummer Living Dead Drummer is offline
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Default Re: Networking tips?

I feel it's going to come down to marketing.

You need to market yourself as that type of drummer or percussionist.
Have a good website, business cards, social media accounts, yada yada yada.

And push yourself out there for the type of gigs you want. Don't let ethnic backgrounds factor in at all.

I do all types of gigs. Rock, Metal, Blues, Hi Hop, EDM, it's all over the map.
You know what I don't do? Jazz or Latin. Know why? Because I don't have any photos of me on my website in a suit playing with an upright bassist next to me, or a set of congas laying around.

It really boils down to how you present yourself to the world.
At times you will have to overcome obstacles. I've certainly been turned down for gigs because of my sex or race, but that's going to happen no matter what you do. But I've also done the exact same type of gigs for people who went off my presentation, talent, and experience.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:59 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is online now
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Dead Drummer View Post
I feel it's going to come down to marketing.

You need to market yourself as that type of drummer or percussionist.
Have a good website, business cards, social media accounts, yada yada yada.

And push yourself out there for the type of gigs you want. Don't let ethnic backgrounds factor in at all.

I do all types of gigs. Rock, Metal, Blues, Hi Hop, EDM, it's all over the map.
You know what I don't do? Jazz or Latin. Know why? Because I don't have any photos of me on my website in a suit playing with an upright bassist next to me, or a set of congas laying around.

It really boils down to how you present yourself to the world.
At times you will have to overcome obstacles. I've certainly been turned down for gigs because of my sex or race, but that's going to happen no matter what you do. But I've also done the exact same type of gigs for people who went off my presentation, talent, and experience.

That's a very good point. I have been asked to sit in for metal and punk bands who's drummers couldn't make the gig, because that is what I am known for in my city. The music industry is small, especially when you add the geography of a city, and then shrink it down by genra. Even specifically drummers. I know all the other metal and punk drummers in my city (so do my guitar/bass players) And if I was sick those are the guys I would ask to step in.

It's a catch 22, get noticed so you can get gigs.. need to play gigs to get noticed.


Word of mouth is pretty powerful. open mic nights help. If I wanted to break into the jazz scene I'd probibly try a few open jams and make some contacts at least.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyondbetrayal View Post
It's a catch 22, get noticed so you can get gigs.. need to play gigs to get noticed.
Effective networking is more proactive than passive (such as being noticed on a gig.) It's about conveying/exchanging information before the gig happens, and there are some effective methods to get known, especially with the internet as our disposal.

But proactive is the key, and active is the important element of that. For example, it's a good idea to sign-up with a few musician-finder sites. But just maintaining a presence and waiting for the phone to ring isn't good enough. The hopeful player needs to scour those sites for bands seeking a drummer, and reach out to them. That's the 'active' part of being proactive.

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Old 01-20-2018, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

I've found the LA scene to have welcoming Latin players (at least the folkloric guys). Learning Spanish is just something you're gonna have to do if you want to get to know people.

Just get good at the music you want to play and the rest will fall into place eventually. Want to play bata? Find someone to study with and go to Cuba to see what it's about. Want to play son? Study with one of the heavies. Rumba? Take a trip up to the Bay Area and study with some of the excellent players there.
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:53 AM
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Default Re: Networking tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Tough one.

In the Latin music world, the music isn't just about race or language, it's about an ingrained part of their culture and heritage.

And even some of the most casual latin bands have guys who've been playing congas since they day they were born.

But there are always bound to be exceptions.
I think this has a lot of truth to it.

I know a couple of non-latino guys who have made a presence and name for themselves as serious percussionists here in SoCal, but they have definitely put the study and time into it and gone DEEP into the music and culture, and they've found niches where they're own unique experiences and perspectives are a benefit to their musical suroundings, or created their own situations.

I don't think anyone will fault you for trying. In the end these connections end up being about the music and the hang. When people like you on both those levels, my experience is that nothing else really matters.
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