The cajon


The cajon

The cajon (musical instrument belonging to the family of percussion) is one of the few tools from Zamoranos music where the musician is sitting on it and beating sounds with your hands.

The traditional cajon is made with cedar wood but are mainly or wood were also used for construction. The height is 47cm, width of 35 to a depth of 20 cm. and the thickness also reaches 15 mm.

The instrument consists of a rectangular wooden then where the percussionist sat on, with her legs spread and played with the hands.

The traditional Peruvian instrument has only three screws that adjust the distance of the tapa from the frame and is used to modify the attack of the sound. The model has more of the flamenco guitar strings or a snare snare drum which serves to give the instrument an emphasis on the high frequencies, very suitable to accompany the guitar. Are sometimes used metal bells always to increase the metallic resonance.

The Flamenco cajon has also measures other than the original Peruvian.

History and evolution of the cajon

The origin of the Afro-Peruvian cajon is in the sense that it was invented by blacks slaves in Peru during the Spanish colonization.

The church categorically forbade slaves with the Peruvians’ “Edicto Del Dirreinato” the use of drums that was considered a form of communication. The drums were in fact called “talking drums” and therefore considered pay to use the same way of making them disappear, by burning all the copies found.

The first references of the cajon you have documented since 1850 where slaves who wanted at all costs to express their music found the gimmick of the boxes containing goods of various kinds to play and use them to the sacred rites and other art forms mainly related to the ceremonies.

Since the seventeenth century it was forbidden to use drums Peruvians they have found in other objects of the way of playing. Other examples are the wooden spoons, tables, boxes of almsgiving, pumpkins and more.

Cajon and dance

Originally, the cajon was used for coastal dances as “zamacueca” and the “tondero” of the dances that are original and northern central coast of Peru. The first news about the cajon can be attributed to Limeña dance of northern zamacueca called tondero.

The use of the cajon was made popular with the dances of the “Fiesta de Amancaes” that is made to bring all the landowners, farmers, artisans from all regions of Peru and musicians.

The chronicles of the time say that already existed when a similar pace to Buleria who played with his knuckles on the table and accompanied two guitarists. To this is added also some musicians that accompanied with the palmas.

In the following years the same rhythm was performed on the packing boxes that were gradually become perfected and made of musical instruments.

Initially the slaves used the boxes of freight, or any object that could have a frame and a panel to resound. It was subsequently modified until a Peruvian peasant “Porfirio Vásquez” defined the extent that even today is used.

The migration of the cajon in Europe

The arrival of the cajon in Europe is attributed to the famous guitarist Paco De Lucia in 1977.

Manolito Soler, dancer of the group cominicò to play the accompaniment of congas and percussions on the cajon given to him. Today, the cajon is defined as the epitome of contemporary flamenco.

Today, the term “Cajon Flamenco” is attributed to the instrument changed in the Iberian Peninsula that is, with the tailpiece inside. This does not mean that the cajon has Spanish origin, as many believe, but Spanish is the only change made in the natural and technical and industrial evolution.

Evolution of the instrument

The birth of the model “Flamenco” marked the beginning of a new era for this instrument as it has now become a widely used and percussion in the process of international expansion.

The use of the cajon today is intended not only to traditional percussion Peruvian or Spanish but also to the other and to drummers and this has introduced the use for example of the brushes, in alternative to the palm and fingers of the hand or the realization of cajones of other forms.

In recent years it has also been used to replace the drum of the battery, approaching a normal pedal.

The revolution of the cajon

The real revolution of the cajon is the case today, in Italy, Europe.

The technical background of the executive modern drummer-percussionist leads to the need to play the cajon using a single instrument like a mini-solving battery problems due to posture, volume, monitoring. Being the cajon a percussion on a single surface that offers more frequencies, from low to high, it is thought to apply a pedal that could play on tapa but remaining there seated above.

The invention of the pedal cajon, support for the tilt and other accessories are the result of a search that lasted for years and still continues to study construction methods and systems to improve the usability of the cajon in a mini -percussion set or drums.