Learn about the Donkey Jaw

6 Dec 2022
Our Get Authentic video series showcases unique instruments from around the world being expertly played by local composers and musicians.

In our second ‘Get Authentic’ episode, Colombian artist Juan David Castaño shows us how he plays the Donkey Jaw.

This unusual idiophone percussion instrument is normally made from the jawbone of a donkey, horse, or mule and produces a powerful buzzing sound. The jawbone is cleaned of tissue and dried to make the teeth loose and act as a rattle when the instrument is struck. The instrument was carried by slaves to South America where it become known as the Quijada. 

The Donkey Jaw, the quijada, charrasca, or jawbone (in English), was used on a Soca-Calypso music track on a recent SOMOS album. The style is seen in Providencia and San Andrés islands in Colombia.

In Colombia, you can find the Donkey Jaw played in Santander, Boyacá, San Andrés and Providencia islands. In Latin America, they also play it in Peru and Mexico.

Watch below as Juan breaks down the Donkey Jaw and dives into the history of the unique instrument…



The Donkey Jaw can be heard on SOMOS album Días de Sol, played by Juan David Castaño.

Scroll down to listen to the album.




Within our Get Authentic series, we are delighted to be able to highlight some of the remarkable global talents that we work with. Constantly learning from, and inspired by, musical communities, styles, genres and cultures around the world. We work collaboratively with composers, artists, and musicians to create meaningful albums that resonate not only in production quality but reflect the true nature of the inspiration behind them.

Join the discussion and follow and share this series on socials with #GetAuthentic. You can also check out Get Talking, a series that puts the spotlight on important issues that impact the music and media industry.


Días de Sol Mándame un besito

Mauricio A. Byfield Sanchez & Andrés E. Mira Olarte
Mándame un besito Días de Sol (SOO 043, 2019)

Positive and uplifting guitar tunes for sunny days, with an upbeat summery feel featuring traditional Latin American instruments like tiple, tinafono, donkey jaw and folklore percussion.

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