A cajón is a kind of box drum played by slapping the front face (generally thin plywood) with the hands.
Origins and evolution
The cajón is the most widely used Afro-Peruvianmusical instrument in the 20th century.
Slaves of West and Central African origin in the Americas, specifically Peru, are considered to be the source of the cajón drum; though the instrument iscommon in musical performance throughout the Americas, especially Cuba. In Cuba, the cajón is associated with the Afro-Cuban drum/song/dance style known as rumba, while in Peru it is associated withseveral Afro-Peruvian genres.
The cajón was most likely developed in coastal Peru during the early 1800s. The instrument reached a peak in popularity by 1850, and by the end of the 19th century cajónplayers 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.
Knowing that the cajón comesfrom slave musicians in the Spanish colonial Americas, there are two complementary origin theories for the instrument. It is possible that the drum is a direct descendant of a number of boxlike musicalinstruments from west and central Africa, especially Angola, and the Antilles. These instruments were adapted by Peruvian slaves from the Spanish shipping crates at their disposal. In port citieslike Matanzas, Cuba they used cod-fish shipping crates. Elsewhere, small dresser drawers became instruments.
Another theory posits that slaves simply used boxes as musical instruments to combatcontemporary Spanish colonial bans on music in predominantly African areas. In this way, cajóns could easily be disguised as seats or stools, thus avoiding identification as musical instruments. In alllikelihood it is a combination of these factors - African origins and Spanish suppression of slave music - that led to the cajón's creation.
Early usage of the Peruvian cajón was to accompany...