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date: 20 November 2019

Sambumbia [zambumbia].locked

  • Andrés Amado
  •  and Matthias Stöckli



Friction drum of Guatemala. It might be of local origin, though similar to the Spanish zambomba and African friction drums. The body of the instrument is a gourd with a membrane stretched over an aperture cut in the neck end. The membrane is vibrated either by moving a stick back and forth through a hole in its centre or by rubbing a stick tied to the membrane. In the former type, elastic bands may be fastened to the membrane and the stick so that the stick returns to its original position after moving.

Maya musicians identify two kinds of sambumbias. If the stick is handled from above the membrane, it is designated as male. If the stick is handled from below the membrane on the inside of the gourd, the instrument is female. In northern Guatemala, a female instrument known as tigrera uses a string or rope instead of a stick to make the membrane vibrate. Its sound approximates that of a tigress in heat. It is believed to be of pre-Hispanic origin, and seems to have been used in hunting rituals. See ...

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