Dominican Tambora

Mini Dominican Tambora
Mini Dominican Tambora

This object is a handmade mini version of a drum from the Dominican Republic called a Tambora. My grandma (who immigrated to America in 1961, from the Dominican Republic at 19) took me to visit the Dominican Republic in 2006 when I was about 3 years old, and she bought me this drum from a "tienda artesaniá," or a craft shop in English. She bought me this drum because I love music and always used to tap on things to make beats, and not only that, but she wanted me to have something that reminded me of my culture and the first trip I took there with her. An actual Tambora is much larger and was used in Afro-Caribbean folkloric music, and today, a style of music and dance called “merengue.” Tambora's were inspired by West African drums in the 1500s and were typically crafted using old rum barrels for the shell, goat hide, or “chivo” for the heads of the drum, tuned with ropes, and flexible wooden sticks used to hold everything together. The Tambora my grandma gave me is made from similar materials but instead of a rum barrel it is made from a tin can with the colors of the Dominican flag on it, and a loop to play it around your neck. It is one of my most cherished gifts; a piece of my culture, and a reminder of the memories I shared with my grandma.

Place(s): Dominican Republic, New York
Year: 1961

– Jeremy Rodriguez

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant