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date: 14 November 2019

Bulá [boula]locked

Extract

[boula]

Single-headed log drum of Haitians in Cuba. It is played, for instance, in the tumba francesa ensemble (tumba is a generic term for ‘drum’), a set of three cylindrical drums with heads of goatskin, struck by the hands. The head is attached to a hoop that is laced in a V-pattern to pegs inserted lower in the hardwood body; the pegs are hammered to tune the head. The body is often colourfully painted and carved with geometric and symbolic designs, and it stands upright on the ground or occasionally is laid sideways and straddled. The drums are named after their functions in the ensemble; the largest, lead drum is called manmanor manma(‘mother’), quinto, or premier; the mid-size is the bulá (called segon in Haiti); and the smallest is the bulá-segón or segón (boula in Haiti); individual drums might also be given personal names. Cuban tumbas are roughly the same height, about 77 to 81 cm, but of different diameters, about 46 to 51 cm. The higher-pitched drums are also called ‘first’ and ‘second’...

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