Bongo drums consist of two small, but differently sized, drums that are attached to each other in some fashion. They are generally much higher in pitch than are other hand drums (such as congas). These drums are meant to be played while held in the musician’s lap.
Bongos originally evolved in Africa, but they were brought to South America during the period of the slave trade. They are generally associated with Cuban musical genres like salsa and changui. However, they are commonly used in all kinds of Latin-based music.
As a general rule, bongo drums are made of wood; but, they can also be made from a variety of other materials such as metal and plastic composites. Animal skin is considered the “authentic” material for the heads, but synthetic materials are also commonly used today.