A Little Sugar with Coffee
Abakua refers to a secret, Afro-Cuban, male society of percussionists - as I understand it, one had to be initiated into this society before they would be taught how to play percussion in their style. One of their hallmarks is to impose what I call a “cross-over” pattern to songs in 6: a technique in which a pattern with 4 beats/measure is played against a pattern with 6 beats/measure. A Western ear may tend to hear this in 4/4. But no. This is actually a tricky pattern in 6, in 3/16 meter, counted like this: 123456123456 (the bold numbers are the pulses - as you can see the pattern in 4 goes through 3 cycles before hitting on “the 1” of the pattern in 6, so the downbeats are shuffled around a bit). While I realize that imposing the Western concept of “opposing meters” upon an Afro-Cuban rhythm would strike my Abakuan heroes as rather silly, it helps me to understand how these patterns work. To witness this Abakua effect in this example, the clave is the key to finding the cycled downbeat, as usual.
More info on Abakua: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abaku%C3%A1
“La clave es la llave, la llave es la clave” - The clave is the key, the key is the clave.
“Abrecuto y guiri mambo” - Open your eyes and listen.