A conga is a human Cuban drum. The word can also refer to a kind of dance or a Cuban carnival.
Gloria Estefan: "If I had to take everything into consideration, [the truly essential song] would have to be 'Conga.' First, because I don't think I can get away with not performing that song in some shape or form. Second, because it started the possibility of Mi Tierra (Estefan's top-selling Spanish album) happening. Not only did it talk about a specific rhythm of my homeland (Cuba), it talked about being Latino, and the celebratory nature of dance. It was very musically forward in that it mixed a funk bassline and a 2/4 beat on the drums and the Latin percussion. It was something that really put us on the map. And even though it's a frivolous and fun song, it talks about who we are as immigrants in this land." (quote from Reuters, November 17, 2006)
This was the first ever record to get into the US Pop, Dance, Black and Latin charts.
At weddings and other such gatherings, Conga lines became very popular after this song was released. In 1988 an estimated 119,000 people congaed their way into the Guinness Book of Records to the beat of this song.