Zambomba - Spain

Purchased in Madrid, Spain, 1967-8

From Graciela's Notes

The Zambomba is a very popular rhythm instrument used in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries during the Christmas season. It is used to accompany the carolers as they go from house to house singing “villancicos” during the “posadas” – the nine days before Christmas. The Zambomba is used with the tambourine and guitars to accompany the singers. Villancicos are Christmas Carols. The Zambomba is a friction drum. A stick is fixed in the center of the drumskin and projects inside the shell. The sound is made by rubbing the stick between your thumb and forefinger with a damp sponge or piece of leather. (If you are brave enough just dampen your hand – keep it damp – and run your palm up and down the stick. This rubbing action makes the drum skin vibrate. In Spain and other Spanish speaking countries the Zambomba is most often made of a clay pot.  In Brazil there is a similar drum called Cuica but is made of metal. You play it the same way but this instrument has tension screws to tighten the drumhead and change the pitch. The Cuica plays a very important part in traditional Brazilian dance music. The Zambomba is rather crude and usually homemade. During the years I spent in Madrid, Spain I even saw them made from large tin cans. I bought this one at the Christmas Market in the Plaza major when I lived in Madrid, Spain. Children enjoy playing it because of the strange sensation you get from the vibration. It was purchased in 1967 or 1968.

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