Slaves from West Africa probably brought the quica to Brazil. The 'crying' sound of the drum resembles the noise made by a hyena, and the drum is sometimes referred to as the panther's roar or lion's roar. Apparently, hunters use the quica to call lions.
Sound and workings
The quica is a percussion instrument and is classed as a friction drum. The noise is made by the rubbing the stick while the drum acts as a resonator, amplifying the sound. This particular quica is a small simple instrument that may have been made for personal use or as a souvenir. It is not suitable for performances. Quicas that are played in bands are larger and usually made from more hard wearing materials. Modern quicas are also manufactured from aluminium, steel and fibreglass and they are produced in a range of sizes up to 28cm in diameter and 25cm in depth.
This quica has been made by hand using locally found natural materials and simple tools. The coconut has been hollowed out and cut in two places to form the shell. Goatskin has been stretched and across the narrower open end, then glued and nailed to the outside. Pieces of rubber cover the nails and the join where the goatskin is glued to the shell. Strips of rubber decorate the shell - these have been cut using a serrated tool to give a regular jagged edge. White broken lines are painted on to the rubber in a horizontal pattern. The wooden stick that makes the 'queeka' sound runs through the centre of the drum skin and is secured at the other side by glue and string.
The Quica and the Samba
The quica accompanies the samba, a dance that is important in Brazilian popular culture. It is part of the samba bateria where hundreds of drummers and percussionists perform as part of a group at Carnival alongside dancers, marchers and floats. Music for the samba uses no melodic instruments. Instead, percussion instruments - drums, tambourines, bells, shakers and the quica - create a vibrant, energetic soundtrack for Carnival or Mardi Gras.