Last night's band practice marked the passing of a huge milestone. It was the first time I was able to cue the transitions with the abanico, play cáscara and clave (either flavour) in the pre-montuno, timbale bell and clave in the montuno AND sing lead vocals at the same time.
I know it's taken a little longer than anticipated but I think I can justify it, what with having so many projects going on at the same time, and give myself a wee pat on the back. So what next? The most immediate is being able to play bongó bell (left hand) and timbale bell (right) whilst singing. Having just practiced it for a couple of hours just now, I can do it already... minus the singing.
After that, it's sorting out how to play the maraca and güiro rhythm on the hi-hats a la Mike Collazo; then with cáscara, then plus singing.
In the meanwhile Catie has been keen to add congas to her arsenal of musical instruments; and this is a fantastic opportunity to explore rhythmic movements together - like mozambique and songo. Plus I'm sure there'll be a healthy amount of 'chop-building' ahead.
My dance partners, old and new, are very much aware of these developments even if they don't exactly know why. As I said to Emma the other night, 'It's a shame to have so many rhythms playing and to use only one'.