What is a Cajon Drum? History & Its Origin

*I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.*

Originating from Spanish, the word Cajon means a crate, a drawer or a box. It is a kind of a wooden drum that has the taken over the music world in recent times. The Cajon is amazing, yet very simple percussion and is used in almost all the types of music all around the world.

It is a box drum, rectangular in shape and made up of wood. It consists of six sides, with one of them consisting of a thin sheet of plywood. The percussionist or player is supposed to sit on it and beat or tap their hands against the surface of the plywood. The back of the drum has a hole which allows the sound of the beats to escape outside.

What is Cajon

There is no requirement of a complicated or a fancy set of up drums, seats, drum stands, electric wires, and attachments of other things. There is no need for drumsticks too. All you have to do is just sit on top of the wooden drum and play in the desired beats.

You can get a different effect of sounds when you tap on different places like on the edge, sides of your hand, or with an open palm.

It does not have to be expensive at all. You can get cajons at discounted prices on various sites on the internet.

History and Origin of Cajon

It has been known that in the 18th century, in the tea plantation areas of Peru, the African slaves created this musical instrument. The earlier versions of the cajons were made out of the tea boxes or chests which were used for the packing of tea. During their break times, the African slaves used to play them. It has been reported that there were strict reports in those times for the usage of musical instruments, so most of the cajons were made at homes. The tea boxes were made up of a thin sheet of wood that was prone to splitting and warping under the extreme climatic conditions of heat and humidity. This is splitting of the tea box produced a rattle sound from the box, which today is imitated by using snare wires.

Though the natives of Africa and Peru have been using the cajons for many years, they didn’t gain much popularity in the western countries until the western audience got their eyes on the cajons. Talking about the musical world, the instrument was always unseen till the high profile percussionist and drummer, Alex Acuna, used Cajon in his performances in the 1970s.

Cajons slowly gained their popularity and are now a part of almost the types of music genre today. Apart from the conventional shape of the instrument, the rectangular box, various other variants have been developed by people of different cultures. The manufacturers of cajons have made various changes to their shape, materials, composition, and proportions to achieve different and new sounds. These modifications or improvements help in producing many variants of sound. Just as the various kinds of woods produce different sounds, materials such as acrylics, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and plastics are used in the construction of the body to produce different kinds of sound.

The different adaptations in the cajons have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the players to choose according to their requirements and needs of the sound. However, cajons have been a dream for all the drummers and percussionists out there today. They choose from a variety of styles, budget and their expertise level to suit their needs and create amazing sounds from the instrument.

Since there is no such hassle for the drum set up and loads of equipment, the percussionists love to play the Cajon in their concerts and performances due to the sound variations it produces. Be it traditional, rock, pop, folk, hip-hop, jazz or any kind of music, the drummers love to play Cajon and include it to create the best out of the musical notes.

The players use the Cajon with or without the drum kit, depending upon their choice. But the kind of sound it produces is just unmatchable! Due to its unique sound producing capabilities, the instrument has taken over the music industry all over the world today and gained popularity throughout.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.