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The Cajón is a traditional percussion instrument from Peru that is synonymous with Afro-Peruvian music. Due to its versatility the instrument is used in a wide variety of musical styles all around the world including Spanish Flamenco, rock, fusion, and Cuban music.

The basic instrument is very simple in design. The traditional Cajón is a wooden box with a sound hole on the back, and a striking surface on the front. Traditionally, five sides of the box are made 3/4" pine or white wood, and a striking surface out of plywood. The player sits on top of the Cajón and strikes the front with his hands, coming up with variations in timbre depending on where and how the Cajón is striken. Some Cajónes have panels with loose cornes to facilitate better slap sounds. Flamenco Cajónes sometimes have guitar strings inside to generate a resonating sound.

The origins of the Cajón are not exactly clear: it is believed that the instrument originates from the Afro-Peruvian music tradition in the coastal regions of Peru. One hypothesis is that African slaves used wooden cod shipping crates as a replacement for their native drums. In Cuba small dresser drawers were used as instruments in a similar manner. However, other theories suggest that the Cajón originates from botijas: conical clay jugs that were used by earlier black Peruvians to accompany a dance called the Zamazueca. A third possible predecessor is the tamborete, also known as mesa de ruidos (table of noises). This instrument consists of a sheet of wood on four legs. This instrument was popular in some regions of Peru and Chili.

While the Peruvian Cajón is used as a universal instrument, the Cuban Cajón is almost exclusively featured in the Rumba de Cajón. The Spanish use of the Cajón can be traced back to the guitar player Paco de Lucia, who took the instrument to Spain to replace the percussive hand clapping that traditionally accompanied the Flamenco.

Modern Cajónes come in all sorts of colors and materials (even Plexiglas), and are especially popular for "unplugged" music sessions. Cajónes are also sometimes mounted on legs, which allows them to be played like a set of congas.

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