From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- For other uses, see Bongo (Disambiguation).
Bongo drums or bongos are a percussion instrument made up of two small drums attached to each other.
The two small drums that make up Bongos are typically made of wood, metal, or composite materials, attached by a thick piece of wood. There is a layer of animal skin stretched across the top. Bongo drums produce high-pitched sounds, and should be held between the knees. They are traditionally played by striking the drumheads with the fingers, although some contemporary classical compositions require sticks or brushes. Bongos can also be muted by placing part of the hand on top of the head while striking it at the same time. The two drums are of different size; the larger is called hembra (Spanish: female), and the smaller is called macho (Spanish: male). In Cuban music, bongos are usually played by the same musician as the cowbell (Spanish: cencerro). This musician is called a bongocero.
The history of bongo drumming can be traced to the Cuban music styles known as Changui and Son. These styles first developed in eastern Cuba (Oriente province) in the late 19th century. Initially, the bongo had heads which were tacked and tuned with a heat source. By the 1940s, metal tuning lugs were developed to facilitate easier tuning. Some of the first recordings of the bongo can be heard performed by the groups Sexteto Habanero, Sexteto Boloņa and Septeto Nacional.
It is believed that Bongos evolved from the Abakua Drum trio 'Bonko' and its lead drum 'Bonko Enchemi'. These drums are still a fundamental part of the Abakua Religion in Cuba. If joined with a wooden peck in the middle, such drums would look much like the bongos we know today.
Bongo-like drums with ceramic bodies and goatskin or rawhide heads are found in Morocco where they are known as tbila, as well as in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. They can sometimes be found accompanying flamenco and other traditional Spanish music, partially because of the Moorish influence in Spain. Ceramic bongos are more common in the Middle East and Asia than they are in South America; this is because wooden bongos were brought to Cuba during the slave trade.
- Bongo Mania article
- Pictures of the tbila
Categories: Latin percussion | Hand drums | Cuban musical instruments | Drums | Pop culture words of Bantu origin