The Drum is a ‘Constant’ instrument in Reggae Music and is traditionally part of the African heritage. As such it was seen as ‘disturbing’ to the status quo. This can be gauged in the film ‘The Devil’s Daughter’ the first Hollywood movie to be shot in Jamaica in 1939.
This film was also called ‘Pocomania’ and this genre of music was one of the precursors of Reggae Music and while featuring traditional Jamaican Folk songs, you can also see and listen to the constant, growing sound of the Drums.
Pocomania sprang up in the 18th Century and was seen as a vehicle of rebellion against the harshness of slavery and in the 19th Century (1860) it became a religious practice from which the Revivalist Church emerged.
Pocomania or Revivalists are people who, while still believing in Christianity (Baptism) and God, infused their beliefs with many African religious traditions, especially about the spirits of their ancestors. They believed a person can be possessed by the spirits of the dead who can make you sick or can protect you. Tambourines, the Rumba Box, the clapping of hands and dancing are features of this musical genre and religious service.
The Rumba Box (or Marímbola as it’s called in some Spanish speaking Caribbean Islands) has its roots in African traditional music and was also an important instrument in the Mento musical genre, another precursor of Reggae.