Aug 17, 2008

Cajónes and Zapateado

Today, I'm in the mood for percussion so I'm going to share a couple of excellent Youtube videos that feature Spanish beats.

A cajón is a kind of box drum played by slapping the front face (generally thin plywood) with the hands. According to wiki, the slaves of West and Central African origin in the Americas, specifically Peru, are the source of the cajón drum. In Cuba, the cajón is associated with the Afro-Cuban drum/song/dance style known as rumba, while in Peru it is associated with several Afro-Peruvian genres. It is said to be the most widely used Afro-Peruvian musical instrument in the 20th century.

This video of a live performance is in Spanish Flamenco style. The cajón was introduced to Flamenco music by guitarist Paco de Lucía in the 1970s. While this video isn't the clearest, it's one of my favorites because I think it captures the spirit the drumming.

In this next video a cajón drummer accompanies a shirtless, sexy Flamenco dancer performing on the Ramblas in Barcelona. Again, the video isn't the best around for presentation, but I like it because it captures the experience and energy of this street performance. According to Angelo from Spaintalk, this dance is called "Zapateado" a special type of flamenco footwork, which requires great skill, concentration and a lot of stamina to perform. This is not just a guy stamping his feet on a wooden board for the fun of it, there is purpose and meaning to the movements of this particular Palo (a Flamenco form that is very old and extremely traditional amongst tight-knit Andalusian families and communities).

Óle! Enjoy.


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