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date: 21 February 2020

Bocú [bokú]locked

  • Malena Kuss



Single-headed drum of Cuba. It is tall, relatively thin, and open at the base. One of the oldest drums from eastern Cuba, it is a creole instrument blending elements of African and European ancestry and shares musical functions with the tumbadora. There are three types of bocúes: (1) cylindrical or conical wooden body, with nailed head; (2) conical wooden body with the head held by a hoop; and (3) conical wooden body made of staves, with the head fastened by a system of hoops and metal screw tuners (modern).

Traditionally, the body was made from a log or staves, preferably of cedar, although pine and other woods were also used. The oldest drums were cylindrical and carved from a log, with a nailed head; the conical shape resulted when staves from food barrels were reused, being thinned only at the lower end to glue them together. Goatskin was preferred for the head, although bovine, deer, horse, or calf skin could be used. Height commonly ranges from 65 to 95 cm, head diameter from 20 to 27 cm, and base diameter from 10 to 19 cm. The tallest ...

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