Cajón

A cajón is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, played by slapping the front or rear faces (generally thin plywood) with the hands, fingers, or sometimes implements such as brushes, mallets, or sticks. Cajones are primarily played in Afro-Peruvian music (specifically música criolla), but has made its way into flamenco as well. The term cajón is also applied to other box drums used in Latin American music, such as the Cuban cajón de rumba and the Mexican cajón de tapeo.

Sheets of 1.3 to 1.9 cm thick wood are generally used for five sides of the box. A thinner sheet of plywood is nailed on as the sixth side, and acts as the striking surface or head. The striking surface of the cajón drum is commonly referred to as the tapa. A sound hole is cut on the back side. The modern cajón may have rubber feet, and has several screws at the top for adjusting percussive timbre.

Originally the instruments were only wooden boxes, but now they may have several stretched cords pressed against the top for a buzz-like effect, resembling a snare drum–guitar strings, rattles or drum snares may serve this purpose. Bells may also be installed inside near the cords.

Coming soon – resources for obtaining cajón instruments in South Africa