Desi Arnaz also played a role in the popularization of conga drums.
However, the drum he played (which everyone called a conga drum at the time) was similar to the type of drum known as bokú used in his hometown, Santiago de Cuba.
There are five basic strokes: The moose call or glissando is done by rubbing the third finger, supported by the thumb, across the head of the drum. Changuito and Raúl "el Yulo" Cárdenas of Los Van Van pioneered this approach of the songo era.
The finger is sometimes moistened with saliva or sweat, and sometimes a little coat of beeswax is put on the surface of the conga head to help make the sound. To bend the pitch of the congas, a conguero sometimes uses his elbow to shift around on and apply pressure to different parts of the head; this causes the note to change. This relationship between the drums is derived from the style known as rumba.
The word conga came from the rhythm la conga used during carnaval (carnival) in Cuba.