Vol.17 No.2

Techniques: Boogaloo Basics

Pete Rodriguez’s song, “I Like It Like That,” has had a long history! There’s something about this song that has kept artists revisiting the track every couple generations.

National Standards: 1-3, 5-7, 9, 11


Have the class read Techniques: Boogaloo Basics (page 24 of the student edition).

Key points in the article:

    • The song “I Like It Like That” was originally composed by Tony Pabon and Manny Rodriguez in 1967. It was then re-created in 1996 and again in 2018
    • The original version uses Latin boogaloo: a fusion of Latin and R&B music that incorporates mambo and salsa instruments with doo wop-style vocals
    • Boogaloo was most popular in the 1960s, and has lost traction over the years, but modern bands like Santana (and upcoming Latin artists like J Balvin and Daddy Yankee) still make use of it


Example 1

Play the following songs, “El Watusi” by Ray Barretto and “Boogaloo Blues” by Johnny Colon. Have students listen to the changing chords and pay specific attention to how many times each progression is repeated.

Example 2

Ask students to describe what syncopation means, in their own words. Then, if you have access to an instrument, play the syncopated bass rhythm in example 2. Then play “Bang Bang” by Joe Cuba and have students listen for the bass line. Have them play the bass rhythm on their desks with their hands with the recording.

Example 4

Ask students to pair up. Then play “Watermelon Man” by Mongo Santamaria. One person will play the percussion rhythms (clapping or on their desk), the other will play the piano rhythms.