The cajon drum is a drum that has six sides. This instrument is a popular instrument on both the street and in the studio. The word cajon is Spanish for box, crate, coffin, or drawer. Many different cultures throughout the world use the cajon drum and have used this drum type over many generations. It is influenced many styles of music and it can be traced back to the Spanish colonies in the Americas in countries such as Cuba, Peru, and other nations of the Caribbean.
How Did the Cajon Drum Develop?
Around the 18th century, drums in the Americas were banned because those in power felt threatened by them. In cities such as Lima Peru, slaves in the area began to use drawers, crates, and various other pieces of wood as drums. The cajon in its pure form is a six-sided instrument and it has a sound hole which is cut into the back panel. The front panel of the instrument is called the tapa and it’s made from a thin wood which gives it resonance. The other five sides of the drum provide the structure. The sound of the drum is quite dry and the main tone of the drum is bass so its primary role as an accompanying instrument. The traditional cajon didn’t feature most of the additions that the drum has now. in Peru today, they are an exporter and innovator of this type of drum. It is grown in popularity and is used worldwide in many forms of music.
This drum was also developed in Cuba. While the drum is popular in Cuba it’s not as popular as it is in Peru. This drum developed in the country because African Cuban dockworkers in cities such as Havana we’re taking old fish drums and candle crates which were coming from Spain and they were turning these over and using them as a percussive instrument. At the end of the day, the dock workers would retreat to their homes and use these crates to create songs. They use these primitive drums to create the form of music we now know as rumba. Over time these primitive drums we’re worked on by local craftsman and they turned into the Cuban version of the cajon drum. This Cuban version has five sides and it has a pyramid shape. It comes in different voices as well as different sizes
Another type of cajon was developed in Spain. This is more of a recent development and this is called a flamenco cajon. Brazilian percussionist Rubem Dantas and Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia were touring in Peru in the 1970s. Dantas discovered the Peruvian cajon and they took one back with them to Spain. This instrument was assimilated into Flamenco music. They added more to the instruments such as bells, guitar strings, and various rattles which they mounted to the inside of the instrument. These additions gave more depth to the drum. Before the 1970s percussion instruments involved in flamenco music were usually done just by the feet and hands. The flamenco cajon can be adjusted like a regular drummer can adjust a snare so there are more sound options when you use this sort of cajon.
Present Day Cajon
When we speak about this drum today it’s one of the most accessible, popular, and visible drums that you will find worldwide, while you are searching for the best cajon, CGuide have a superb resource about it. There are now many different versions of this drum such as Bongo, pocket, turbo, collapsible, and even electronic cajons. Today, we may attach different things to do cajon such as ports, pedals, seats, brushes, microphone pickups, and other attachments. In the past, these drums were made from materials such as plywood but now they are made with acrylic, fiberglass, and other materials. There are also many festivals that celebrate this drum such as the. International Cajon Festival which takes place in Lima Peru each year. people take place in conferences, video screenings, masterclasses, and view performances where artists use cajons and many other instruments.
How the Cajon Drum Became Popular?
This drum is a popular instrument for many reasons. Many musicians from different genres love this drum because it works quite well with acoustic instruments. The drum isn’t as fragile as other drums are because you don’t have to worry about drum skins which tend to wear out quite quickly. This drum is also more accessible to musicians as you don’t need years of practice to get proficient on this drum. A regular drummer that is using a standard drum kit needs many years of lessons to become a proficient drummer. You need a lot of precision to become a professional drummer that sits behind a kit. The cajon Is easier for students to pick up and you can be a simple recreational drummer without the need for extensive lessons. This is a simple drum that anyone can use so it opens up music for a wide range of people that might not otherwise want to be a drummer due to the fact that regular drums take a lot of skill and training.
Today the cajon drum is very popular it is a versatile drum that is loved by people worldwide. It’s used in many different forms of music and because the drum is simple to play it’s accessible to more musicians and those that want to become a musician. If you love music and drumming in general, the cajon drum is a great place for you to start.