Water drums are a category of membranophone characterized by the filling of the drum chamber with some amount of water to create a unique resonant sound. Water drums are used all over the world, including American Indian music, and are made of various materials, with a membrane stretched over a hard body such as a metal, clay, or wooden pot.
Water drumming, the tambor de agua (Spanish: drum of water), bungo, or liquindi, of African origin, is water, such as a river, which is played by striking the surface directly with one's hands. It is performed by the Baka in Africa, and in South America by the descendants of slaves, with strokes comparable to the culoepuya.
Water drums are used in Iroquois, Navajo, Cherokee, Creek, and Apache music, water drums are common in Native American music, being widespread in North and South America. They are used today both ceremonially and in traditional Longhouse social dances and are the traditional drum for the Huron/Wendat/Wyandot and Iroquois/Haudenosaune tribes. The Ojibwa, Odawa and Pottawatomii called them midegwakikoon, with "Mide" referring to Midewiwin. Water drums are used in Yaqui deer dance music, representing the deer's heartbeat.
The cataquí or water drum is characteristic of the Qom (Toba), Wichí, Pilagá, Chorote and Nivaclé cultures in the South American Gran Chaco. The water drum or cataquí is a hollowed body such as a hollowed out tree-trunk or ceramic pot, into which water is poured. The mouth is closed with a leather skin, made from corzuela (Red brocket deer, Mazama americana), which is hit with a single stick. The cataquí has been used in ceremonies, including the "carob," and has also been used in calling songs at dances, for couples to form.
Today they are made of both wood and clay. Wooden water drums are made either by hollowing out a solid section of a small soft wood log, or assembled using cedar slats and banded like a wooden keg. Clay drums are either handmade or an old crock is used. Wyandot and Seneca/Cayuga traditionally used a groundhog skin (daˀyęh) for the drum covering,though a piece of deer skin works well. An Iroquoian or Wendat/Wyandot drum stick is carved from a piece of hardwood with a small rounded tip. Each drum style has a unique way of tightening the hide to maximize the sound. The drum head must be both tight and saturated with water for best results.
Native American Church ceremonies often use a water drum made from iron, brass or copper kettle. These styles of water drum are more common than the woodland form and can be purchased in numerous locations. The distinctive sound of the drum characteristic of the Native American Church is created because: "The water inside is in constant motion and produces a special resonance. The player's thumb, pressed against the drum head, holds the tone at a constant pitch which then drops a fifth or more when the pressure is relaxed between songs."
- Green, Rayna (1999). The British Museum Encyclopedia of Native North America, p.56. Indiana University. ISBN 9780253213396.
- McAllester, David P. (1996). "North America/Native America", Worlds of Music, p.56. Titon, Jeff Todd, ed. Schirmer. ISBN 0-02-872612-X.
- Depasquale, Paul; Eigenbrod, Renate; and Larocque, Emma; eds. (2009). Across Cultures/Across Borders: Canadian Aboriginal and Native American Literatures, unpaginated. Broadview. ISBN 9781460403037. "Mitigwakikoog (Little Boy Midé Water Drums)."
- Nichols, John D. (1995). A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe, p.88. U of Minnesota. ISBN 9781452901992. "mitigwakik na Mide drum; pl mitigwakikong; dim mitigwakikoons
- "Tambor de agua". Museo Virtual de Instrumentos Musicales, Instituto Nacional de Musicología. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007.
- "Tambor de agua".
[Picture of a clay-bodied cataquí drum with leather head]
- King, Claire. "Tuning the Water Drum". From Cradleboard to Motherboard. Archived from the original on July 19, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2007.
- Shore, Alexa. "History of the Seminole Tribe". FSU World Music Online. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- McAllester, David (2008). Kevin Yazzie: Faith: Harmonized Peyote Songs of the Native American Church, liner notes. Canyon Records.
- "Stitch of Mushroomhead Interview October 6, 2010", MuenMagazine.net.
- "Slipknot, Mushroomhead Members Perform Together In Minnesota (Video)", Blabbermouth.net.
- Documentary: Water Drums, An Ancestral Encounter (2009). AWA Producciones.