Cajones by George Katsaras made in Greece original hand made
The cajón is the most widely used Afro-Peruvian musical instrument since the late 19th century. Enslaved people of west and central African origin in the Americas are considered to be the source of the cajón drum. Currently, the instrument is common in musical performance throughout some of the Americas and Spain. The cajón was developed during the periods of slavery in coastal Peru. The instrument reached a peak in popularity by 1850, and by the end of the 19th century cajón players were experimenting with the design of the instrument by bending some of the planks in the cajón's body to alter the instrument's patterns of sound vibration. After slavery the cajón was spread to a much larger audience including Criollos.

A cajón Spanish: kaˈxo; "box", "crate" or "drawer" is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, played by slapping the front or rear faces generally thin plywood with the hands, fingers, or sometimes implements such as brushes, mallets, or sticks. Cajones are primarily played in Afro-Peruvian music specifically música criolla, but have made their way into flamenco as well. The term cajón is also applied to other box drums used in Latin American music, such as the Cuban cajón de rumba and the Mexican cajón de tapeo.



Sheets of 13 to 19 mm 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick wood are generally used for five sides of the box. A thinner sheet of plywood is nailed on as the sixth side, and acts as the striking surface or head. The striking surface of the cajσn drum is commonly referred to as the tapa.[1] A sound hole is cut on the back side. The modern cajσn may have rubber feet, and has several screws at the top for adjusting percussive timbre.

Drum Day

The player sits astride the box, tilting it at an angle while striking the head between their knees. The percussionist can play the sides with the top of their palms and fingers for additional sounds. Some harder hitting players use protective drumming gloves to protect their hands from bruises and blisters. Some percussionists attach a bass drum pedal to the instrument, enabling them to play it with a single foot. There are also lap cajons which are smaller and more portable that sit on the lap of the musician.

The instrument has been played not only with hands, but also with plastic and metal brushes, as used for drum kits, for example with the Pen Technique, developed by Patrizio Migliarini, which allows the musician to play jazz and funky rhythms with a completeness and dynamic richness close to that of a drums, through the use of metal brushes. Another way of playing the cajón is to use an ordinary bass drum pedal, thus turning the cajón into an indirect percussion instrument which can be played with the feet. This enables the player to beat it just like a pedal-bass drum, thus leaving the hands (and one other foot) free to play other instruments. On the other hand, it also restricts the player's standard cajón-playing position, as when the cajón is placed on the ground, in the bass drum location, it is hard for the performer to slap it with her or his hands.

grip traditional

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