Loading... Please wait...

Cascara Rhythm: The Super Power Beat of Latin Drummers

Posted by on

Have you ever noticed that Latin drummers are unnervingly happy? If you take a look at the great Latin drummers, they have a totally different vibe when drumming than so many other percussionists and musicians. They’re in the groove so hard, they almost become the focus of the song. Latin drummers are the sound of Latin music, and those rhythms are what make us all want to jump up and groove right along with them.

One of the great things about Latin music is that the same basic rhythms are foundations of the various Latin drumming beats we love today. These foundation rhythms, or rudiments, are essential to developing your own Latin drumming style and technique since they pretty much define the sound of Salsa, Mambo, Samba, Bossa Nova and more.

If you look at the Cascara rhythm, or, rather, if you feel the Cascara rhythm, you’re well on your way to playing a great Salsa beat that will have the crowd up and moving. The Cascara is a complimentary rhythm to the Son Clave, another foundation (if not the foundation) of Latin music. Like peas and carrots, these rhythms are easily interwoven, especially when played on different types of drums or percussion instruments. In fact, within both the Son Clave and Cascara rhythms, there are variations that can be layered over each other by different drummers and/or drums to create a life-changing polyrhythm.

It is the versatility and flow of the Cascara and other rudiments that make those lengthy Latin drumming solos (think, Santana!) possible: because ain’t nobody ready to quit when that groove is so alive, so real, and just so damned sexy.


The Cascara rhythm is perfect for drums like the timbales, or for any cutting, “metal” sound: hi-hats, rim shots on a snare and cowbell all bring out the punch and slight syncopation of the beat. The name means “little shell,” in fact, but, the sound and effect are huge. The Cascara rhythm is both mellow and funky, with a crazed fervor that can knock over even the most accomplished Latin drummer or percussionist… in a good way. Possibly, in the best way imaginable.

That’s why Latin drummers and percussionists smile so much (well, there’s a lot of other reasons, too, but, we’re going with it). Latin drumming is fun, it brings out the best in people and to be the person who makes that happen for others is one of the most intensely blissful experiences on the planet. Just ask a Latin drummer about Latin drumming, they’ll back us up on that. Plus, after learning the basic rhythms like the Son Clave or Cascara, a Latin drummer can pretty much bring anyone to their feet. It’s almost like a superpower, and pretty great to behold. Not that we’d ever use that particular superpower for anything but to benefit the world, and really, how can a Latin rhythm ever be wrong to play?

Never doubt the power of an addictive beat to change the world, or, at least your audience’s frame of mind. The Cascara is a rudiment of Latin drumming, but that does not mean it is simple. It is one of those rhythms that you should know in your sleep because it is so versatile, so perfect for the stage, studio, your living room or drum circles and drum jams. Plus, playing it will make you smile, and that’s one of the best benefits of drumming any rhythm: how it makes you feel.

Ready to learn the Cascara? Check out the video below!

View Comments

Drums: The Perfect Present for Everyone on Your List

The holiday season can make us all crazy. We’ve got families to visit, meals to cook, office parties and a whole lot of shopping to get done in just a few weeks. Because this is such an important part of the year for everyone, it only makes sense that at the end of it all, we just want [...]

Continue Reading →

What’s a Drummer to Do? Drum Racks vs. Drum Stands

Unless you’re a closet drummer, with probably the least amount of space possible for a full drum set, at some point you’re going to wonder one of the great drumming questions of all time: should you trust your beloved drums to a drum rack, or keep them safe on drum stands. With the love of rhythm and drumming comes [...]

Continue Reading →

Haitian Voodou Drumming: a Rhythm of Connection and Spirituality

The hand drums we see today in drum circles represent a lot more than just a gathering of hippies (or, hipsters) drumming together as an exercise in music, rhythm and creative expression. Most of the hand drums used in drum circles, like djembe drums or cajon drums are modern representations of the drums used by African slaves in all parts [...]

Continue Reading →

What the What? Drummers and Hearing Protection

Drumming is loud. It doesn’t matter if you have a whole suite of drums on a rack, or just a djembe strapped around your neck. Drumming is loud, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do to reduce the volume of your drums and still play like the maniac you are. But, there is a good reason you [...]

Continue Reading →

Dear Santa, I Want a Djembe: The Hand Percussion Shopping Countdown Begins

The second week of November has been designated, “Dear Santa Letter Week,” by the people who plan our calendars and remind us that the holiday season is happening right now… as if the holiday decorations in stores after Labor Day weren’t enough of a clue. There is a bright side to this week of gluttony, though; even if you’re [...]

Continue Reading →

Don’t Drum and Drive: Your Drumming Habits behind the Wheel

There you are, minding your own business, when you notice flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror. You think to yourself, “Was I speeding? Why am I being pulled over?” and then go through the hundreds of possible traffic violations you may have committed while innocently driving down the road. Once you are safely pulled off to the [...]

Continue Reading →

Pain Relief through Drumming

Whether from an injury, or a battle with chronic pain, there are many reasons that people turn to alternative treatments in order to increase wellness in their lives. Living with pain can cause stress, depression, anxiety and a loss of focus on the things that matter in life. Finding a way [...]

Continue Reading →

Best Instruments for Drum Circles

The fun and magic of a drum circle can be seen in the joy on the faces of everyone who attends. These community based drum jams allow each person to feel as a part of the whole experience, while still allowing for self-expression through both rhythm and the instrument chosen to [...]

Continue Reading →

Becoming a Drumming Teacher

Drumming is a passion that can ignite a person and encourage the motivation for creativity and artistry like no other.  It is this need to share the wonders of rhythm and drum with the world that can turn a person into a drum circle fanatic, a rock star drummer or even a [...]

Continue Reading →

Most Viewed

Latest Tweets

    View Cart Go To Checkout