2 Vote

La negra tiene tumbao. 2001 hit song by Cecilia Cruz(te amo hasta siempre,Reina)....................my Mexican sweetheart says she has never heard of the word "tumbao". The word is not in any of our dictionaries. We have various ideas: from the verb "tumbar"....perhaps it is Cuban slang for a nice behind, or nicely shaped bottom......
Can anyone help us with this'''

  • Posted Jan 3, 2008
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7 Answers

6 Vote

You folks are all confused!!!!

Tumbao - en español cubano y caribeño y entre los musicos (in Cuban and Caribbean Spanish and among musicians) means: swing, style, flare. To have tumbao is you have a certain swing, style, and flair that is HOT!!! (the "it" factor can apply)

Tumbao also is a word used for rhythms on the congas and bass in salsa, Cuban son and other styles of Cuban music.

2 Vote

The word is tumbado. It is customary to not pronounce the "d" in the final syllable in Cuba and some other places. Thus sometimes it is written without the "d".

TUMBAO= that highly desirable African sexiness, the impossible to describe "It" factor
I hope this helps you.

0 Vote

That is certainly helpful. But are you saying that a Mexican, German woman or a Burmese woman cannot have "tumbao"? Is it racially exclusive? Is the use of the word "tumbao" Afro-Cuban slang?
If you don't mind, could you tell us how ( in what linguistic context)you have seen or heard the word "tumbao" used'

  • Not at all. But that's where it comes from. Just like French women have a "je ne sais quoi". - Gekkosan Mar 22, 2011 flag
  • Yes, we all can have "tumbao", although most cubans have it naturally, and some of us have to try really hard to acquire it. - LuisCache Mar 22, 2011 flag
0 Vote

This was what I found when I searched Cuban Slang. Personally I have never heard of it before.

0 Vote

Thank you ....we can handle it from here.

0 Vote

According to Wikipedia:

In music of afro-Cuban origin, tumbao refers to the basic rhythm played on the tumbadoras and the bass.

According to Termwiki:

Most important standard rhythm for congas, played on tumba and conga.

Aquí dice cómo echarse un "tumbaito":

link text

Drum Pattern

The basic tumbao pattern is played on the conga the drum is struck on every 8th-beat in the measure in the following sequence:

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . Count

H T S T H T O O Conga

L L R L L L R R Hand Used


L: Left hand

R: Right hand

H: Heel of hand

T: Tip of hand

S: Slap

O: Open Tone

0 Vote

"Tumbao" is one word with multiple meanings rolled into one: Style, grace, beat, rhythm, flair, panache, vigor, attitude, poise, verve, character, confidence, unashamed, in-your-face, self-promoting...you get the idea.

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