This 1998 release by Brazilian percussion god Dom Um Ramao marks his first solo recording in more than 30 years. Romao has been an in-demand session player since the mid-'60s and was one of the founding members of Weather Report. His own albums on the late, great Muse label, one named eponymously and the other entitled Spirit of the Times, were rhythm orgies that pasted together all of the traditions he'd worked in up until that time: from Sergio Mendes and Sinatra to Flora, Airto, and Weather Report. Rhythm Traveler is a return, of sorts, in that it is an engagement with Brazilian song forms from both folk musics and popular song, all translated through a jazzman's manner of hearing.
The history behind the Cajon and Bongo is actually one of darkness and despair. The Slaves of West and Central African origin are considered to be the origin of the Cajon drum, which is essentially a wooden box with a thin sheet of wood nailed on as the sixth side acting as the striking surface. The Cajon is a highly featured instrument in Cuban music, which also traditionally contains the bongo. The Bongo was also brought from Africa to Cuba by the slaves and both are often featured in salsa, rumba, changui and other traditional styles. The modern adaptation of the Cajon is often found in Spanish flamenco music, however this is a relatively new introduction. The Cajon was introduced by the flamenco master, Paco De Lucia during the 1970s and is now a common instrument in Spanish guitar music.