The bongos are an Afro-Cuban hand drums of the membranophone family where like any headed drum the sound is created by striking a stretched membrane to create vibration which is amplified by a drum or resonator chamber. Bongo's are typically a pair of small open bottomed drums of varying sizes with a head or skin stretched over the top. The larger drum (female) is referred to as the hembra and the smaller (male) the macho. It is unclear as to the exact origins of the bongos however there is evidence to suggest that it could hold lineage with the North African tibilat however these are double headed instruments.
Bongos are played in a similar fusion to conga drums (also available) when the open hand, palm and fingers are used to make a range of different rhythmic patterns. The drum is traditionally played while sitting down and held behind the knees with the larger (macho) drum on the right hand side. However, some multi percussionist in contemporary music will use a stand to mount their bongos for ease of access.
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