“Polyrhythm is the joining of two or more rhythms. The regular and systematic superimposition of cross-beats over main beats creates a specific sub-set of polyrhythm called cross-rhythm. All clave-based music is generated through cross-rhythm.
From the philosophical perspective of the African musician, cross-beats can symbolize the challenging moments or emotional stress we all encounter. Playing cross-beats while fully grounded in the main beats prepares one for maintaining a life-purpose while dealing with life’s challenges. Many sub-Saharan languages do not have a word for rhythm, or even music. From African viewpoint, the rhythms represent the very fabric of life itself; they are an embodiment of the people, symbolizing interdependence in human relationships.“
-From the book CLAVE MATRIX
by David Peñalosa