If you are interested in beats and sounds you might have experimented with different types of membranophone other than conventional drum kits. In the Caribbean percussionists use tins and cans to beat out their song. Bongos are popular the world over nowadays but have their roots in nineteenth century Folkloric music from the eastern side of Cuba.
Bongos are a combination of 2 open ended drums and are smaller when compared to most normal drums. The 2 drums are joined together, usually made of animal skins, although sometimes made with plastic heads. The body of the drums are made up of metals, woods or ceramic. The 2 drums come in different sizes, hence their different sounds. This means you have to be skilful in coordinating both drums to achieve rhythmic and scintillating sounds.
The history this instrument can be traced back to the 1880s in the eastern Cuban province of Oriente. The merger of African and Latin influences brought about the earliest versions of bongo sound. After the abolition of slavery bongo players became free to experiment with different sounds and patterns which continued to evolve into what we have today.
The simplest form of this instrument comes with a rigid drum head therefore it cannot be tuned or adjusted to play different notes. However, there are more recent versions that come with an adjustable feature which is usually fixed firmly with metal bars. Playing this instrument is relatively easy and can be great fun. It is played with the hands, mainly using finger tips, heels of the hand and thumbs. To get your desired sound you need to strike the heads of the drum with these different hand parts and at different places for different sounds. Some people also make use of sticks to play Bongo but traditionally, hands are the main tools for playing the bongo drum. Purists would say using drum sticks is a musical faux pas.
There is a special drum oil that is necessary to protect the head of the drum to avoid the absorption of moisture of the bongo skin from hands or from moist air. Failure to apply this oil might result in a dry bongo skin which will eventually result in cracks. One very likeable feature of this type of drum is that it is small and of low expense. It is a great choice to bang out a beat alongside a classical guitar and a singer; lots of fun when jamming in a group of friends.
Although electrical instruments today are more popular than traditional ones, a lot of people still enjoy the traditional instruments like bongos. Sounds from the bongo can be very relaxing especially when there is a good beat being played. The popularity of the drum can be attributed to its strange and seductive sound, which can be even inculcated into modern music genres.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of the bongo is that it is portable; making it an ideal choice to take to parties, to play at open mike nights; or to take along on camping trips.
Sam Abraham is a professional writer of different interest like DIY tips, Foods & Recipes, Music & Entertainment, Web Technology and many more. He was born and brought up in the South of England, and then travelled to London for his Degree and Masters Degree in Psychology. He now lives in sunnier climes out in Africa where he shares his time between his young family, his online journalism career and his third love Sport.