If it wasn't for Taumbu, Buyepongo would not exist if you ask me. Taumbu, the name that would always come up in our conversations. Taumbu, is a musical reference for us ( and what I mean by "us", is the ones who played and learned from him) to this very day. And even though I only played with him a handful of times, the influence on us , as well as other musicians in the LA area are undeniable. He taught my friends, which my friends taught me and now I teach to my peeps.
We used to escape to Leimert Park as much as we could. Sunday Drumming, Thursday night Jazz at the world stage and Project Blowed that was the thing. I remember we used to drum in the park (Vista Verde) late nights, figuring what we were going to do with our sound. One day the homies mentioned they been meeting up with a guy from Leimert park that had taken them under his wing. Over time they would meet up with him more and more, and I noticed they started sounding better and better.
One day I decided to join them to see what this guy all about. As soon as I arrived and heard the slaps on the skin and saw the confident look in his eyes, I knew he was the man! His tone was clear and style was clean. Crisp and on point. So, I casually walked up to the circle, and nodded to the homies. I picked up a campana and banged away. Right away Taumbu looked me with them eyes that say " Who the F*#% you think you are!" But I kept going. I was trying to show him I knew what up ! So He slammed on the quinto and stopped the music, got up, and took the campana from my hand. He told me I needed to bounce. He told me I needed to get out the circle. My homies were looking at me like " Damn.. you F't up!" . Which I did, but I hung around (outside the circle of course) trying to absorb as much as possible, since I knew I didn't make a good impression on him and probably wouldn't get invited back.
Just listening to him play, speak and break down everything he was doing, was worth me staying. I also wanted to apologize to him. So at the end of the session I went up to him put my hand out and said " I apologize for interrupting your circle sir. I disrespected you when I should respect my elders. I apologize" and thats exactly what I told him. He smirked a little, then laughed out loud and shook my hand! He then said" Man you got some big meaty hands. You should be able to get a good sound out them drums." which I didnt..at the time... But from that moment on I have been working towards that sound. Rest in peace Maestro Taumbu.
Hal "Taumbu" Ector 8/11/1944 to 8/15/2015
Buyepongo holding the beat down for Taumbu at the Caracol Market Place March 2006.