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"Seis Milonga"
From Puerto Rico in Washington
© Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Puerto Rican Güiro
1990s

Traditional percussion instrument
This snake-shaped gourd is known as a güiro, a Puerto Rican percussion instrument played by scraping a pick across the series of ridges on its surface. A slot in the güiro allows its internal sounds to escape, adding to the fullness of the instrument's sound. A scraper can be made of fiberglass, steel wires, and/or hardwood. Güiros are used to play folk and popular music.

Notes
Gourd painted with white, green, gold, and black paint
The higüira tree is the traditional source of güiros--some contemporary güiros are made of plastic
Web display only

Learn more!
· The Music of Puerto Rico
· "A Collector's Vision of Puerto Rico," an NMAH Virtual Exhibition
· "The Talking Drums" by Michael Kernan, "Smithsonian" magazine, June 2000
· "Seis Milonga"

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