Looking for a Bongo player and percussionist to create the perfect vibe for your wedding?
Today, Sunshine Weddings Spain chats all things rhythm and entertainment with the hottest percussionist on the Costa del Sol, Ghana born Alex Konadu, who knows exactly how to put fire into your party.
Welcome Alex, and thanks for taking a moment out of your busy schedule to join us today and talk a bit about yourself and your entertaining percussion act.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey in the music world?
I was born in Ghana, but from a very young age I started travelling all over the world with my father who was also a musician, so music has always formed a part of my life.
I remember that as a child I would sit on the streets and make my own drums out of anything I could find, plastic, twigs, etc and I just taught myself. In fact, all the instruments I play have been self-taught.
So thanks to having a musical father who introduced me to the music world from such an early age has meant that my decision to follow in his footsteps was a natural process.
After travelling and touring all over the world with your father, how did you end up in Spain?
After being on the road for many years, I was given the opportunity to stay in Germany with an uncle and so I did, but I didn’t feel it was the place for me. Then one year I came to Spain on holiday and I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had finally come home after so many years of travelling, and decided to relocate. That was 20 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.
What best describes your music style and what music do you feel drawn to?
I can adapt to any music style, R&B, hip hop, house but I feel more drawn to house music, funky and Latino music.
I have a 6-piece drum set and when I perform as part of a band we usually play jazz music, funky or reggae.
I also sometimes perform as part of a trio, with a female vocal singer, a DJ and I’m on drums.
Do you know how to play both conga and bongo drums and what are the main differences?
Yes, I play both, though I personally prefer playing bongos.
In regards to differences between the two instruments, the most obvious one is probably their size, with congas being the larger of the two instruments. The way they are played is a little different too, both are played with the hands, but the techniques differ, you use most of your hand when playing the congas, whereas you use your fingers more when playing the bongos.
How did you get into performing at weddings?
I met Scott over 18 years ago when he was running nightclubs and was looking for a bongo player, he contacted me and we connected well, then when he started up Sunshine Weddings Spain we kept in touch and the transition to play at weddings was natural and worked well.
At which stage of the wedding day are you most requested to perform at, and do you have a preference?
There isn’t actually a marked trend, every bridal couple has different requests, sometimes I play prior to the ceremony, during the cocktail hour, reception or after party.
I don’t have a preference, I’m just happy seeing people enjoying my music, regardless of the specific moment as such and I’m happy to play over any type of music.
During the drinks reception I usually play percussion on top of Ibiza vibe-style music, and during the after party I often perform as part of a band made up of a DJ, saxophonist, violinist and myself on percussion.
Do you prefer playing solo, with a DJ or band?
I enjoy all three, but if I have to choose I would say I prefer it when I’m performing with a DJ, the atmosphere we create is electric.
All the Djs I work with know me well. I’ve performed in the Marbella scene for 20 years playing at: Ocean cub, Nikki beach, La Habana Havannah… and there is a connection now, in the middle of a song with just one glance, the DJ might pause it so I have 5 second solo and the crowds go crazy, like I’ve said, the atmosphere is always electric when I perform with one of the Djs I’ve known for years.
Any original requests from a bridal couple?
I was once asked to perform with a flamenco dancer. It was actually the dancer who contacted me directly, not the bridal couple themselves.
Flamenco dancing tends to include a strong personal improvisation which reflects how I play the bongos, so my professional connection with the dancer was immediate and since, we have gone on to perform together on several more occasions. The dancer provides music and I play on top of that music whilst she dances.
I don’t even have to know or have heard the song previously, yet I know exactly what I need to do, how I need to perform, it comes out naturally and people really love the mix of flamenco with bongo.
When you are not busy playing the drums and getting parties grooving, what do you do in your spare time?
I love all things related to interior decoration and furniture repair like fixing damaged cabinets or tables, re-colouring etc.
And finally, what are your future projects?
Pre-covid I was travelling back to Ghana on a semi-regular basis and was in the process of building a four-story hotel there, investing in my home country money made from playing music. As soon as I can, I want to resume that business venture which is very important for me as I hope that with it, I also help the local economy.
On behalf of Sunshine Weddings Spain, a huge thank you for your time and funky insight into how best to get a party going. We hope to hear you very soon in the up-coming wedding season.