Güira

Güira

A güira [IPA|ˈgwiɾa] is a percussion instrument from the Dominican Republic, generally used in merengue, bachata, and its subgenres, that sounds like a maraca or hi-hat but in fact is a sheet of metal -- in practice, often from a five gallon oil can-- evenly perforated with a nail, shaped into a cylinder or torpedo-like shape, and played with a stiff brush, similar to the Puerto Rican güiro, but more serrated. In merengue, the güira is brushed steadily on the downbeat with a "and-a" thrown in at certain points, or played in more complex patterns that generally mark the time. Modern cumbia also sometimes features a güira. Performers on the güira are referred to as "Güireros".

Güira Making

There is something of an art to güira making (which, in part is credited to artisans such as El Buty [http://www.merengue-ripiao.com/butyenglish.htm] from the Domincan republic). Güiras are now custom-made into various shapes and sizes, even featuring special words and symbols on the specified güira. However, these güiras are more expensive depending on the amount of customization.

Hybrids

In recent years, the musical instrument brand Latin Percussion, or LP, has released the LP multi-guiro, which is an attempt to combine the Cuban guiro, Dominican güira, and metal maraca, by putting the highly serrated edges of the güira on one side, moderately serrated guiro edges on the other, and enclosing the cylinder and filling it with beads. Despite its innovative approach, the mainstream latin music industry has yet to see its use in a full-scale latin setting.


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