Type: Idiophones > Percussions > Struck.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 111.11
Region: Caribbean, Central America.
Description: The botija [botijuela or bunga] is a Caribbean musical instrument of the aerophone type. The botija is a potbellied earthenware jug or jar with two openings and was used in the early son sextetos in Cuba as a bass instrument. The botija was used to hold kerosene brought from Spain.
Botijas were also used as a means to hide money underground. They were buried to prevent humidity from reaching the floors. Bojita were blown into producing a sound, during performance not unlike the jug as in Appalachian jug-bands. Classifying this instrument as a plosive idiophone.
Bojito in Use: Later, botijas were dug up and used as musical instruments in the late 19th century in the Caribbean island of Cuba. During the first stages of development of the Cuban Son. The music’s defining characteristic was a pulsing or anticipated bass that falls between the downbeat, leading to the creation of many bass instruments including the botija. Other instruments included a marímbula, serrucho, contrabass and bajo.
Other bass instruments were used according to the size of the musical arrangement or timbre of the bass instrument needed. The marímbula, for example, was used mainly for smaller ensembles.