Modern use of the conga drum started in the 1950s in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially Cuba. The name derives from a type of rhythm called ‘La Conga’.
According to music historian Nolan Warden, the traditional use of conga drums stems mainly from the drums and rhythms played during Carnival, a party much like Brazil’s Carnival and New Orleans’ Mardi Gras.
While the conga drum is used in a variety of countries, it is believed that a version of the instrument probably comes from Africa. Most likely, its design was brought to Cuba and Latin America by the slave trade.
The size and design of the Konga drum depends on the country of origin. Most extend from nine to 14 inches above the drum, although larger and smaller versions are found throughout Africa and Latin America.
In Africa, most congas are made of hollow logs. However, Cuban versions usually originate from a modified dish. Factory-built congas, constructed all over the world, usually use wood or fiberglass for the body. The Conga drum is a percussion instrument that is popular all over the world. There is conflicting evidence about the origin of the design, although most researchers believe it comes from an African design modified in Cuba.