Makuta (drum)

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Makuta drums are tall cylindrical or barrel-shaped Afro-Cuban drums, often cited as an important influence on the development of the tumbadora or conga drum. Makuta (drum)_sentence_0

They are used in sacred dance-drumming ceremonies associated with the descendants of slaves brought to Cuba from Central Africa. Makuta (drum)_sentence_1

The word makuta is also used to refer to the dancing and rhythms associated with these drums. Makuta (drum)_sentence_2

Construction Makuta (drum)_section_0

Makuta drum construction has a number of regional variations, but the ensemble usually consists of only two drums. Makuta (drum)_sentence_3

Generally, all are created from wooden staves, similar to the way a barrel would be constructed. Makuta (drum)_sentence_4

Both sizes have a goat skin head at the top of the drum and are open on the opposite end. Makuta (drum)_sentence_5

They are commonly around 1 meter in height and their heads vary from approximately 30 cm to 40 cm in diameter. Makuta (drum)_sentence_6

The large lead drum is known variously as caja, nsumbi, or ngoma and is usually barrel shaped. Makuta (drum)_sentence_7

Its head is attached with a tensioning system of metal rods, usually known in English as “lugs.” The smaller drum known as segundo, salidor, or kundiabata, is cylindrical and has the skin attached with tacks, thus requiring it to be tuned by a flame or other heat source. Makuta (drum)_sentence_8

The researcher Fernando Ortiz was told by interviewees that a cord-tensioning system was used prior to metal lugs, and this system was more recently documented in other regions by the Cuban music research institute known as CIDMUC (see references below). Makuta (drum)_sentence_9

Makuta drums are often adorned with painted symbols of the cabildo to which they belong, or even Cuban national symbols. Makuta (drum)_sentence_10

They are played while standing and are sometimes attached to the player with a rope around the waist in order to lean the drum slightly forward. Makuta (drum)_sentence_11

Both drums are played with the hands and the lead drummer sometimes wears shakers on his wrists, a practice also common in yuka and rumba drumming. Makuta (drum)_sentence_12

History Makuta (drum)_section_1

Makuta drums are associated with Cuban cabildos that claim Bantu or Congo ancestry (i.e., from Central Africa). Makuta (drum)_sentence_13

There is some uncertainty as to whether or not these drums were historically played in ensembles of three, or if that was a more recent and infrequent addition. Makuta (drum)_sentence_14

Makuta drumming is practiced mostly in the Western provinces of Cuba including Havana and Matanzas. Makuta (drum)_sentence_15

The oldest surviving drums are said to be found in the provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Sancti Spíritus. Makuta (drum)_sentence_16

Social function Makuta (drum)_section_2

Though the rhythms used in makuta vary from place to place, makuta is always a dance-drumming event with sacred significance. Makuta (drum)_sentence_17

The functions of its African antecedents, however, are said to be more ceremonial, possibly to accompany the coronation of kings in the Congo. Makuta (drum)_sentence_18

In Cuba, makuta activities are associated with Congo cabildos and have been called “public religious music”, a reference to its openness compared to other Congo religious practices in Cuba such as Palo. Makuta (drum)_sentence_19

In the instances that they are used for funeral ceremonies, they can be accompanied by the kinfuiti drum, a friction drum similar to the Brazilian cuica but larger. Makuta (drum)_sentence_20

Though historically only practiced in cabildos, after the Cuban revolution a number of Afro-Cuban folkloric groups began to perform makuta for staged performances, recordings, and tourists. Makuta (drum)_sentence_21

Such groups, such as Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba and Grupo Afrocuba de Matanzas, make use of tumbadoras instead of actual makuta drums. Makuta (drum)_sentence_22


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makuta (drum).