What Is a Box Drum or Cajon?

There's been a wonderful surge in interest in box drums these days. You may see and hear them almost everywhere in all types of audio from flamenco to planet to bluegrass, jazz, fusion, cajon drum , rock and hip-hop. American Idol has even showcased a percussionist in the house band who occasionally brings it downstage to accompany an acoustic unplugged functionality.

So what is a box drum?

Box drums, also popularly recognized by their Spanish title, cajón (pronounced ka - hone) are actually quite old. They ended up designed in the 1700's by African slaves in coastal areas of Peru. As their Spanish overlords forbade them from having any musical instruments, one particular concept is that these devices had been fashioned from the shipping crates and bins that ended up becoming unloaded off ships. Slaves sitting down on boxes starting up make beats and there you have a new drum.

The phrase "cajón" virtually translates as drawer in Spanish. So another principle is that some enterprising musician pulled out his wood drawer and started out actively playing beats on the thin wooden base surface. No matter what the accurate tale is, the box drum has been read in Peruvian folks music for generations.

Integration into Flamenco audio and beyond

In the 1980's, world famous flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia was provided a cajón by a Peruvian maker as a gift. DeLucia was fascinated with the seem and experienced it integrated into his team. Someplace together the way, they began experimenting with including guitar strings running together the faceplate of the drum. This additional a sizzle influence which proved really beneficial. By striking distinct regions on the drum you could get a great facsimile of a complete kit sound with this 1 transportable box! I have heard these drums being employed in jazz, folks, bluegrass and even in songs therapy classes and kindergartens.


The layout of the box drum is rather significantly unchanged from times of outdated. It truly is a box about 18 inches tall with a sq. footprint of about one particular foot by a single foot. The percussionist sits straddled on the box and the front surface is struck by the palms. By hitting with distinct parts of the hand and fingers and in various locations, you can get really various appears.

Present day Box Drums

Present day cajóns or box drums have began to branch out as modern instrument makers make refinements and improvements. There are some that use snare drum wires alternatively of guitar strings. There are some with a pronounced bass influence by introducing a front dealing with bass audio gap. There are even some that are played with a bass drum pedal or with brushes.

Why the Surge in Recognition?

The box drum is an desirable choice for percussionists for numerous motives: portability, flexibility, and affordability. You do not have to plug it in and can be employed even in a avenue-corner busking situation. And they are cost-effective as well. You can acquire a professionally produced and gorgeous wooden instrument for a small in excess of $a hundred! And you can even get a package to make 1 for fifty percent of that. And together the way, the cajon makes a good end table or further seating in your living place!

I believe we will hear and see several far more box drums in recordings, on stage and in schools as much more and a lot more musicians learn this lovely instrument.

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