ONCE UPON A TIME...
If you can, take a trip to the “Alentejo”. If you already live there, you should feel proud of the great wealth that your region has in terms of its songs and this beautiful instrument, amongst other things, The ADUFE can be found in three different areas in Portugal: the Alentejo, Beira Baixa and Trás-os-Montes, where it is known as the PANDEIRO. The technique used in their manufacture is different in each region. For example, in the Alentejo, a tanned pig’s bladder is used to make the skin, whilst in Trás-os-Montes they use a goatskin, which is called a “samarra”. One interesting curiosity is that in the olden days ADUFES were only played by women.
Two rectangular lids from cardboard boxes or else just a simple rectangular cardboard box. Where can you cam get these? At a shoe-shop, bag-shop or you’ll probably just find one in your attic.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES
A pair of scissors and some contact adhesive.
HOW TO MAKE THE INSTRUMENT
In its original form, the ADUFE is no more than four wooden boards nailed together at the top and covered with a skin that’s either sewn or nailed on. To cover the stitches or the heads of the nails, a strip of cloth with little trinkets attached is normally placed in the corners. Others are made in an even more rudimentary fashion. Your Adufe, for example, will be made in a much simpler way. Stick the lids of two cardboard boxes firmly together and stick a strip of cloth around them. Make sure that this is also stuck on firmly and pulled nice and tight to increase its resistance. Once you’ve done this, all you need to do is form your own musical group with your school friends and you can be the stars of your local Christmas and Carnival parties, etc.
It is the ADUFES from the Alentejo that are the most decorative. However, if you’re willing to accept a suggestion, ask your oldest relatives about the traditional means of decorating this instrument in your local district. You’ll certainly hear some very interesting stories, which should help you choose the best decoration.
HOW TO PLAY THE INSTRUMENT
The ADUFE is played high up in the air, at head height, with one of the ends pointing upwards. Your left hand beats out the time, whilst the fingers of your right hand tap out a rhythm that gives the music a special flavour.