Posted by Percussion Play on January 29, 2015
The Cajón (pronounced Ka-hone; short A, long O) is a member of the percussion family and growing in popularity very quickly. It is said to have originated in the 1800's among the Peruvian slaves from West and Central Africa as a substitute for the prohibited African drums. The name simply means “a box” and it’s said that the first Cajóns were the boxes used by the fruit pickers or fisherman along the Peruvian and Cuban coastal regions. Simple and effective, these Peruvian slaves used the crates or boxes to tap out a beat. Expert players from Peru are called Cajóneros or Cajónistas.
Our version is based on the traditional Cuban/Peruvian drums, however, as with all Percussion Play instruments we needed our Cajóns to be perfect for outdoor, all weather performances. Therefore, the resonating box is made from stainless steel, perfect for all year outdoor use yet still very responsive and easy to play. Etched with a tribal pattern, our Cajon’s are attractive, very stable and can even double up as a seating solution. Several together form the perfect drum circle, where several intrepid players can embark on an unforgettable rhythm journey together!
The Cajón is played by sitting astride it and striking or slapping the face (front panel) of the drum with the knuckles or palm of the (slightly cupped) hand. Striking the instrument in different areas will produce different sounds. The top edges of the Cajón will produce a sharp, high sound, while striking the Cajón further down will produce a deeper and richer sound. You can change the sound or get different tones and notes from the Cajón by applying pressure to the face with your heel or other hand.
As with all our instruments, no experience is necessary, just a desire for making music in the moment. We're not all like speedy hands Matthew here, but this video is great to see what the instrument is capable of. Enjoy!