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Percusssion boxes

06 Jan 16 - 01:10 AM (#3763141)
Subject: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,Eluned

While following an excellent european guitarist named Estas Tonnes online, I have seen some folks use this box, about the size/shape of a speaker, by beating on it and producing a depth and variety of sound a simple box should not produce. Anyone know what these are?

06 Jan 16 - 01:14 AM (#3763143)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,#

It is called a cajón.

06 Jan 16 - 05:18 AM (#3763183)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,Musket

They're becoming popular again. A girlfriend used to use one many years ago whilst singing and me playing guitar. Quite effective when playing acoustically.

I notice more shops are stocking them and a small guitar workshop near me has started making them.

06 Jan 16 - 05:32 AM (#3763186)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: Jack Campin

They are much easier to make than the music shop prices for them would suggest.

I made mine (half the usual size) out of a French wine crate, with the "membrane" (the bit you normally hit) made from the thin high-quality plywood used in an old wardrobe. The snares were strips of steel a few inches long and 1/8" wide, picked up in the street. You usually pass a few of these lying in the gutter every day in any city. I don't know what they come from - windscreen wiper springs? I dug out little notches for them in the sides of the crate before gluing and tacking the membrane in place. Commercial ones usually have the membrane held on by removable screws.

It's more usual to make the snares from steel guitar strings, but that would have meant something needing more maintenance. The metal strips sound fine.

The gorgeous Heidi Joubert has some really classy instructional videos:

06 Jan 16 - 11:38 AM (#3763259)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,leeneia

I once went to a concert of music and dance from Ghana where a man played one of these. It was larger than the cajons in the videos, and had a deep, booming sound. I don't think there were any strings or anything that rattled.

Mostly he used his hands to strike it, but I believe that at times he drummed it with his heels. He was having a blast; we were all having a blast.

07 Jan 16 - 08:31 AM (#3763448)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,x

A woman I know has played cajon, but isn't able to transport one.
Would it be possible to have a flatpack fold-up version (maybe hinges on the adjacent edges) or would that ruin the acousti8c properies?

07 Jan 16 - 09:01 AM (#3763456)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,#


You might want to check Google Images.


foldable cajon

07 Jan 16 - 03:28 PM (#3763590)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes

inflatable cajon ???

07 Jan 16 - 05:19 PM (#3763606)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,#

Be still my beating heart :-)

07 Jan 16 - 05:32 PM (#3763609)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: Jack Campin

I have occasionally speculated about the musical potential of my wife's collection of Pilates balls, but they take half an hour to inflate.

Cormac, the cartoonist for the Sinn Fein paper Republican News, once used the concept of the inflatable bodhran as the key to popularity and pulling women at trad music sessions. Somebody almost took him seriously - I have seen a high-end German-made bodhran that you tensioned by inflating a bicycle inner tube between the shell and the skin.

07 Jan 16 - 06:55 PM (#3763622)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,Ripov

Vorsprung durch Technik as they say.

07 Jan 16 - 08:22 PM (#3763631)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes

inflatable ? German ??? not manufactured by Zeppelin was it ????

bodhrans are menace enough at ground level, but once they start taking to the sky and bombing us !!!

07 Jan 16 - 09:16 PM (#3763639)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: Jack Campin

Googling for those German things got me this suggestion:

21 Nov 2015 ... If you are looking for top recommended Remo IRISH BODHRAN 16 Bahia Bass .... HU1002015 TLC Kaydens Deep Throat Inflatable Doll with ...

Do I need to dress up as Mr Punch and and carry a big stick the next time I go to an Irish session?

07 Jan 16 - 09:17 PM (#3763640)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

It was my exquisite pleasure to sit front row in an intimate 120 seat house in 1974.

John Hartford performed on banjo, mandolin and fiddle. His bass beat was a cheap (about a buck USD) microphone taped to the floor by his left foot. By changing impact, or distance, he could vary the sound.


Blessed Be the poor...for they shall invent.

07 Jan 16 - 09:34 PM (#3763642)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,leeneia

To get back to the topic, here's a YouTube video from Ghana with a man playing a box drum. I think he is using his heels to damp it.

Notice the skinny guy with the snake hips at the left. I've seen a similar character at Japanese drum performances. I wonder how common they are in traditional acts, world-wide.

07 Jan 16 - 09:49 PM (#3763644)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: Jack Campin

Using your heels is standard in Latn American playing.

Doesn't work on my half size one since I have it on my lap.

08 Jan 16 - 09:51 AM (#3763760)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: GUEST,leeneia

Makes sense.

08 Jan 16 - 12:26 PM (#3763805)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes

on your lap ???
well then, what's to stop you surreptitiously tapping it in time to the music
with your ..... ???????

13 Jan 16 - 01:41 PM (#3765241)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: keberoxu

In order to refresh this thread, I had to filter with the word "percusssion" which gave me a chuckle for the day, thank you.

On the subject of the "cajon", there are some informative remarks in "La Cancion en el Sombrero." This covers the Inti-Illimani group from Chile, and is written by Horacio Salinas Alvarez, who was not a "founder" as such -- joined too late, and too young -- but became musical director of Inti-Illimani before 1970, and remained so until he left the Coulon brothers over ten years ago. This paperback book, in Spanish, is autobiographical; since much of his life has been devoted to Inti-Illimani, the book becomes a book about the group itself.

Now that this post is being data entered, I find that I can't locate the book in order to quote from it directly. Will have to do so with a future post.   From memory, I can tell you that:

Salinas, Chile-born-and-raised, and personally much influenced by guitar music from Argentina, did not grow up with the "cajon" in the music of his early years. Only as the youngest member of a touring musical group -- mostly Chileans, with the exception of Ecuador native Max Berru -- did he encounter the cajon in South America. He says the music in which the cajon was introduced to him, came from Peru. More particularly, the genre of music was "afro-peruana," the music in Peru originating with the descendents of African slaves. Salinas confesses personally to being tentative and feeling presumptuous about touching the "afro-peruana" musical traditions at the time, as they seemed so foreign to him.

"Cancion para matar una culebra" was the album on which Inti-Illimani released their song "Samba Lando." The writing credits for this song go to Patricio Manns, Jose Seves who sings the lead vocal, and Horacio Salinas. "Lando," Salinas states, is the genre name for a form of Afro-Peruvian music. And he says it was with this album and this song that Inti-Illimani first added the "cajon" to their percussion line-up in their own music.

14 Jan 16 - 01:13 PM (#3765526)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: keberoxu

From page 110 - 111 of "La canción en el sombrero," Horacio Salinas Álvarez.

Something more about "Samba Landó" :
this song was the beginning of our group's romance with Afro-Peruvian music. When we first presented this piece, we were only barely acquainted with the Landó 's traditional rhythm, not to speak of having mastered it gracefully. Nor did we play the Peruvian "cajón," one of the principal instruments of this traditional rhythm as it is of all Afro-Peruvian music....a long time later, in Lima [Peru], we applied ourselves to some traditional rhythm patterns, and learned them, for the Landó and the Festejo; we incorporated the cajón....

I believe that the Inti-Illimani pioneered the group incorporation of the Peruvian cajón, as we did of the Colombian tiple. To our surprise, some time later, the great Paco de Lucia and his band turned up, with a Peruvian cajón babbling flamenco rhythms. Today, groups all over the world have installed the cajón among their percussion instruments. From Africa, certainly, it must have come, and to those latitudes it has now returned, as happens with the wanderings of certain musical instruments. As they say in the flamenco world, music goes and it returns.   (end quote)

14 Jan 16 - 02:12 PM (#3765545)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: Jack Campin

I very much doubt it came from Africa. The Peruvians made them from a commonly available kind of packing crate; they are a spin-off from international commodity trade (fruit, I think). The only square African drums I've seen had a skin membrane.

Square skin-headed drums do sort of work, but there's a reason why most cultures in the last few thousand years have made them round.

13 Feb 16 - 01:50 PM (#3772442)
Subject: RE: Percusssion boxes
From: keberoxu

Good point raised. My translation of Horacio Salinas' Spanish, I don't claim to be excellent, but it's accurate. So Salinas makes that statement, and yes, it can be misleading.

To be more precise: the question of origin can be divided into two exact questions.
Where do the instrument boxes come from?
Where does the style of drumming originate?

So, what are we dealing with, in the Peruvian cajón:
a population of Afro-Peruvians, descended from slaves shipped across the Middle Passage from Africa, from societies with a deep-rooted tradition of drums and rhythms;
and, in Peru, they drummed upon whatever came to hand, using the boxes as musical instruments, as nobody else would think to do?

Disagreements? arguments?