Adufe | The Portuguese Square Drum

by | Jan 20, 2020 | Animism, Bioregional Animism, Portuguese Folklore

The Pandeiro or Adufe is an ancient Portuguese/Iberian frame drum with origins in North Africa. Traditionally, it used to be played by women – the Adufeiras -, whom would play it not only in religious celebrations and romarias, but also in local festivities and even in the work fields. Sheep or goat skins are used for the drum. It is believed that its square shape is filled with symbolic meaning, probably connected with fertility. In the North of Portugal and in Galicia, the play of the Pandeiro can sometimes be connected with witchcraft, as it is said that, at night, the witches come out to play the Adufe. Nowadays, both women and men play this beautiful instrument, which is still built by the hands of the local people.⁠

pandeiro mirandês, also known as adufe

Pandeiro Mirandês, typical from the North of Portugal, hand made by the artisan Paulo Meirinhos ♥️

One of my favourite Adufe songs is Cantaria by Dazkarieh, it is simply filled with this primal energy I can’t describe. You can listen to it here:

Other beautiful songs featuring adufes or pandeiros are the following:

Bellow you can watch a beautiful and inspiring artivism video produced by Vettonia Films against the lithium mining in Serra da Argemela, Portugal, featuring a group of Adufeiras of the region:

Finally, I couldn’t end this article without sharing another of my favourite songs, this one coming from Galicia, called “Xota de Lira”, played by Xabier Diaz and the Adufeiras de Salitre. You can notice that the pandeiros in the video are very similar to the one I’m holding in the photo above (pandeiro mirandês), however, it is played in a different way. So beautiful!

I truly hope you have enjoyed this article and the songs I’ve shared! This is a topic dear to me, so you can expect new future posts about about Portuguese / Western Iberian music and musical instruments ❤️

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might also like this one about Caretos | The Ancient Entrudo Tradition of Portugal. If you’d like to see more, you can also follow me on Instagram here.


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