Kanjira (South Indian Frame Drum with a single cymbal set)
The kanjira (khanjira) is a very old percussion instrument that is very popular in South Indian classical Carnatic performances. At one time, this small tambourine was a primary percussion instrument. Today it is accompaniment percussion often played with the mridangam. These kanjira are made from a solid piece of local Egyptian sycamore (Ficus sycomorus) with a natural fixed skin head and 1 brass cymbal set. The traditional Indian kanjira was made with lizard-skin. For conservation reasons we offer this kanjira with the calfskin. The frame is about 6.25 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches in height.
If you are right handed, hold the kanjira in your left hand; your thumb should be tucked inside the frame. The head is fixed, but you can vary the sound and pitch by applying pressure with your thumb, near the outer rim of the head. Play as you would a deff or frame drum, by tapping and rolling with your fingers on the head and cymbal.
The REMO Version is a 7" tunable drum. Remo's synthetic Skyndeep lizard-graphic drumhead is an ecological tribute to the beauty of the endangered Monitor Lizard. For its tunable kanjira, Remo attaches its Skyndeep lizard-graphic drumhead to an Acousticon shell with a 30-degree radial bearing edge; the frame is finished with a dark stain veneer, giving the drum an elegant and traditional antique look. With its modern technologies, Remo uses proprietary materials that enable kanjira players to bend and modulate pitch exactly like the original, without being affected by changes in climate. Remo's Kanjira can be tuned easily by inserting a 5/64" hex key into a recessed key hole and rotating the key in small increments to achieve the desired low pitch. The 2 3/8" depth x 7" diameter Kanjira fits comfortably in the player's hands and features a one-inch flat jingle set to produce a dry tone with short decay.