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date: 18 November 2019



Vessel flute of Cuba. It is a reused clay jug with a hole in its side, across which the player blows. Some botijas have a mouthpiece fitted to the hole. Also called botijuela (diminutive) and bunga (a term of Bantu origin), the botija originally contained oil from Spain. Sizes vary, but an early example (at C.HAB.c) is 33 cm tall and 24.8 cm in diameter around the ‘belly’, with a side hole 4.5 cm in diameter. The botija is usually held in one hand while the other covers and uncovers the mouth of the jug to alter the sound as the player blows across the side hole. Exceptionally, it can be blown through its mouth and its body can be tapped rhythmically. The sound of the blown botija has been likened to that of low drums. Documented in Cuba since the 19th century, the instrument was associated with carnival and patron-saint festivals and played the harmonic bass in early ...

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