Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Claves (wooden stick instrument)

Catalog Number: B450


20-25 centimeters (8-10 inches) long and about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter

Religion and Denomination: SanterĂ­a (Cuba, Yoruba)
Country of Origin: Cuba
Ethnographic Origin: Yoruba
Materials: Wood
Usage: Ritual (non-yet-used)
Detailed Description of Significance:

Since the introduction of African slaves into Cuba during the 16th and 17th centuries, much of Cuban and Latin American music was influenced by the African rhythms and songs that slaves brought with them. The claves were originally thought to have been created by these slaves as they worked in the shipyards of Havana by using the wooden pegs used in the repair or construction of ships. Since much of the music during that time had no written instructions in terms of how to play it, the claves were an important part of establishing a more organized way of keeping a standard rhythm throughout the songs.