What is an Adufe? (with video examples)

Published on Jan 20, 2020 | Last updated on Feb 10, 2023

What is an Adufe?

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 ♥️

Examples of songs with Adufe

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.

Hello there! My name is Ana Filipa Piedade and I am a portuguese hide tanner and ancestral skills student, practioner and teacher who finds a lot of joy in sharing about traditional living skills with others. I hope you enjoy this space!

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2 Comments

  1. Gabrielle

    Ana! My name is Gabrielle Correia. I live in Athens GA USA. My father’s family is from the Azorean island Sao Miguel. I am trying to reconnect with my lineage and am so grateful to have stumbled on your page. I too am passionate about earth skills and music and hope to one day make it to Portugal to be a steward to this motherland and absorb this precious culture my family unfortunately lost. I want to learn to play the Adufe drum! I love that they are a moorish instrument traditionally played by women. I am reaching out to thank you for creating this space and offering this knowledge you have collected and preserved. And to ask if you know of any teachers or workshops I could connect with for Adufe drumming. Blessings to you!

    Reply
    • wildanacrow

      Dear Gabrielle, what a joy to read your comment! I love São Miguel and Açores in general, those islands are so precious and I spend a lot of my time thinking about the moment I’m back there eheh I truly hope you keep finding ways to reconnect with your portuguese ancestry, that’s so beautiful 🙂 and yes! Rui Silva teaches Adufe classes online, maybe this could be a great chance to learn even all the way from the US! I’ll leave you the link, so that you can get in touch: https://adufes.com/website/cursos-online/
      Sending you a big hug, much love <3

      Reply

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