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For more than 60 years Carlos "Patato" Valdez has demonstrated how a musician can combine technical skill with superb showmanship. His conga playing shows the fusing of melody and rhythm, and his understanding of rhythm is rooted in dancing.

Now in his 70's Valdez still dazzles audiences with his rumba moves, he's also the man who gave Brigitte Bardot a mambo lesson in And God Created Woman. Valdez demonstrates his understanding of melody through bass and tres,the Cuban folk guitar.

Valdez's understanding of melodic percussion was ahead of his time and made advances in drum technology necessary. During the late 1940's he was instrumental in developing the first tunable congas, as earlier models were tuned by the unwieldy method of heating them with a sterno can. His interest in design, and his friendship with LP Founder Martin Cohen, led to the development of the LP Patato Model Conga, one of the best-selling conga drums of all time. It is Valdez's spontaneity and charm that enables him to draw audiences from vastly different backgrounds and cultures into the irresistable Afro-Cuban rhythms which he makes.

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  • 4 November 1926
  • La Habana, Cuba Died 4 December 2007 (Aged 81)

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