What Is a Box Drum or Cajon?

There's been a excellent surge in fascination in box drums these days. You are going to see and listen to them almost everywhere in all varieties of music from flamenco to planet to bluegrass, jazz, fusion, pop, rock and hip-hop. American Idol has even showcased a percussionist in the residence band who at times brings it downstage to accompany an acoustic unplugged overall performance.

So what is a box drum?

Box drums, also commonly acknowledged by their Spanish name, cajón (pronounced ka - hone) are truly fairly previous. They have been designed in the 1700's by African slaves in coastal locations of Peru. As their Spanish overlords forbade them from possessing any musical instruments, one particular idea is that these instruments were fashioned from the shipping and delivery crates and boxes that had been becoming unloaded off ships. Slaves sitting on packing containers starting up make beats and there you have a new drum.

The phrase "cajón" literally translates as drawer in Spanish. So an additional theory is that some enterprising musician pulled out his picket drawer and started enjoying beats on the slender wood base area. Whatever the accurate tale is, the box drum has been read in Peruvian folk tunes for generations.

Integration into Flamenco music and outside of

In the 1980's, globe popular flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia was presented a cajón by a Peruvian maker as a present. DeLucia was fascinated with the sound and had it incorporated into his group. Somewhere alongside the way, they began experimenting with introducing guitar strings running together the faceplate of the drum. This included a sizzle impact which proved very useful. By placing different areas on the drum you could get a great facsimile of a entire kit seem with this a single portable box! I have heard these drums becoming employed in jazz, folk, bluegrass and even in audio therapy lessons and kindergartens.


The style of the box drum is quite significantly unchanged from days of old. It is a box about 18 inches tall with a square footprint of about one foot by a single foot. The percussionist sits straddled on the box and the front area is struck by the hands. By hitting with diverse elements of the hand and fingers and in diverse regions, you can get very different appears.

Present day Box Drums

Present-day cajóns or box drums have started to branch out as modern day instrument makers make refinements and improvements. There are some that use snare drum wires as an alternative of guitar strings. There are some with a pronounced bass impact by incorporating a entrance experiencing bass seem hole. There are even some that are played with a bass drum pedal or with brushes.

Why the Surge in Reputation?

The box drum is an desirable option for percussionists for many reasons: portability, versatility, and affordability. You will not have to plug it in and can be utilized even in a avenue-corner busking situation. And they are reasonably priced also. You can buy a skillfully created and beautiful wooden instrument for a tiny above $one hundred! And you can even purchase a package to make one for 50 percent of that. And together the way, the cajon can make a great conclude table or further seating in your residing area!

I believe we will hear and see several a lot more box drums in recordings, on phase and in schools as a lot more and a lot more musicians uncover this gorgeous instrument.

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