Weekly Basslines #225: La Sitiera (Oscar D'Leon y su Orquestra)

One of my students recently joined a band that plays latin music. He gave me a list of songs and now we're exploring the wonderful world of south american and caribbean styles.

Here’s the first song we did:

La Sitiera” is basically a “bolero”, a cuban style which features a slow 2/4 rhythm and must be clearly distinguished by the spanish "Bolero" which is in 3/4 time.

The main rhythmic elements of cuban bolero are played on shaker (maracas) and congas:

A basic bolero bass pattern is played like this:

I described "La Sitiera" as basically bolero because in some parts of the song the rhythm changes to a Cha-Cha, for example in bars 33 – 36 (1:28min.), bars 41 – 44 (1:44min.) and from bar 61 until the end.

Charateristic elements of the Cha Cha groove are;
  • -          the cowbell plays on every quarter note
  • -          the guiro plays a pattern alternating between quarter and eighth notes 

  • Guiro
  • -          the characteristic conga rhythm has two distinct open hits on the high conga on beats 4 & 4+

As you can see the Cha Cha is notated in 4/4 (that's the reason why I notated the whole song in 4/4).

Here’s the bars 33-36 with a characteristic Cha Cha bassline:

Here's the complete transcription of "La Sitiera" by Oscar D'Leon y su Orquestra:

Last year I did another transcription of a cuban bolero:


Weekly Basslines #223 - The Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide (The Kings)

"The Kings" are a Canadian rockband formed in 1977. Their best known song "The Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide" was recorded for their debut album "The Kings Are Here" in 1980.
This is another request from Sherry & Matthew from Michigan.