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What is the history of the Peruvian Cajon? Discover it here!

The Cajon is quite possibly the most symbolic Peruvian instruments.. It is a symbol of national culture and Creole music that characterizes us. For this reason, on August 2 of each year, Peruvian Cajon Day is celebrated. 

Peruvian Cajon Day: a tribute to the historic musical instrument

Its sound is usually heard in dances from the center and north of the country, such as the zamacueca and the tondero. Of course, it is also inevitable in Creole music and our grandparents and great-great-grandparents have likely danced to its rhythm at parties, peñas, and cultural presentations.

When was the iconic Cajon born?

This instrument has its origin in the oppressed slaves brought from Africa in the 14th century. The slaves sold in Peru were prohibited from playing instruments, especially the drum, which they dominated the most. However, they wanted to express themselves and get out of the exhausting routine to which they were subjected through music.

Thus, in their search for a form of artistic expression, they played on rustic boxes, hollow pieces taken from zucchini, or other improvised artifacts that functioned as percussion. Over the years, it went from being a box and little by little it was converted –at the hands of Afro-Peruvians– into a more refined musical instrument: the Cajon. This is an instrument from which sounds can be extracted from any part of its surface, and is also known as an "idiophone".

The diffusion of the Cajon

According to Rafael Santa Cruz, a musician, and actor who dedicated a large part of his life to the dissemination and recognition of the Peruvian Cajon, it was not until the late 1950s that the first attempt was made to bring Afro-Peruvian folklore to the stage and into national tradition. . This was carried out thanks to the Pancho Fierro company, directed by José Durand Florez, a researcher of Creole and Afro-Peruvian music.

Thus, today, the box has reached all homes and corners of Peru, even groups worldwide. It is present in various genres, such as landau, festejo, Alcatraz, panalivio, inga, among others. It also joins with the Creole polka, the pasodoble, the marinara, and other Peruvian rhythms. It is one of the national instruments with the greatest presence in international music.

Tourism in Peru is characterized not only by its landscapes, architectural complexes, and gastronomy. We have a great variety of cultural and artistic expressions such as music. You will find all this and more on our news blog site. This August 2, enjoy the rhythm of the Cajon!

Tips on Technique

The cajon has a bass tone (sonido grave) played with marginally measured hands in the upper focal point of the tapa and a sharp tone (sonido agudo) played utilizing fingertips in the top corners, which are left loosened to 'snap' against the body of the cajon.

For improved definition, the tapa on a Peruvian cajón is stiffer (thicker) contrasted with cajones utilized in flamenco. To accomplish an engaged bass tone and to settle the hand and secure finger joints, one should utilize marginally measured hands to play sonido grave.

For playing the cajon, hands should be measured, as above.

This guarantees that lone meaty territories of the hand - demonstrated in green - come into contact with the cajón, never the sensitive joints. For a similar explanation, hands should be held vertically when playing sonido agudo with just the stack of the fingers striking the top corners of the tapa - finger joints should never hit into the top edge of the cajón.

Away from the cajón, Chinese therapeutic (Baoding) balls can be utilized to practice finger aptitude. Since the opposite and nearly enduring wooden tapa furnishes minimal characteristic bounce back to work with on the cajón, comparative with headed drums, quick fundamentals and musical twists are executed utilizing every one of the ten digits (repiquetear), and single and twofold strokes (redobles) utilizing the hands.

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