While on their US tour, some of the members of one of the most famous bands that came out of Cuba, Los Van Van, came by our studio to perform a couple of their songs, Por Encima Del Nivel & Somos Cubanos, in an instrumental version.
Born roughly November 4, 1925, Carlos “Patato” Valdez was one of the most influential figures in the development of my career and that of the LP, percussion company I founded in 1964. It was love at first sight for me. He was talented, funny and a bit crazy. He helped me hone my hanging out chops in the after hour clubs in the Bronx and in the parties in his apartment. He was a part of my life for nearly 40 years. With his help I introduced a conga design that has his name and a bata drum set in fiberglass that was a bit oversized. In 1979 he was part of a band I founded that included Tito Puente and Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez called the Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble that made 3 European trips and one to Japan. If the trips themselves were costly to me, they helped me develop a global business that became a powerful brand in percussion.
Patato died in a hospital outside of Cleveland, Ohio on November 11, 2007
WELCOME to Congahead.com! My name is Martin Cohen and my passion for music has fueled much of my life’s activities. Since the 1950’s, I have been photographing and recording the world’s most creative and exciting musicians.
I began this website in order to share my good fortune in knowing many of the world’s finest percussionists and instrumentalists. I wanted to share the images, recordings, interviews, and movies I made of these legendary musicians. Within Congahead you will find many exciting sound clips, movies, photos and interviews from my personal collection. I invite you to join me online as I present the most talented musicians of contemporary music.