Similarly with the conga, bongos also came from Cuba and are a very important part of Latin music, and the two are almost always paired together. First documented in Cuba in the 19th century, it wasn’t until the early 20th century for the bongos’ popularity to really take off.
Bongos are a pair of relatively high-pitched drums compared to congas, and originally came as two separate drums, however, it didn’t take too long before someone thought of the ingenious idea of connected the two and making it one piece. Rawhide is the professional’s choice for bongo head material, but this can also be quite an expensive option so you will find many brands opting for a cheaper, plastic alternative. Although plastic isn’t the “real deal”, there are some frighteningly realistic plastic options that offer a very authentic sound and feel to rawhide.
Traditionally the bongos are played between the player’s legs when seated, but more and more percussionists place the bongos on a stand, which allows them to play whilst standing. The other benefit of using a stand is that it allows the player to have more freedom and enables them to play many instruments and dip in and out of the bongos when necessary.