Minor Music
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Homage to the Guiro


You’ve heard it. That ratchety sound that gives a song that unmistakable Latin groove. You get it from a percussion instrument called a guiro (pronounced gweer-oh). Technically speaking, it’s a scraped idiophone. Its beginnings are traced back to the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, who thought it would be a cool idea to scrape a single rod along parallel notches of a hollowed out gourd. Now you can find them made of wood and even combination shaker versions made of metal. In any case, everyone from Stravinsky to the Rolling Stones picked up on its percussive potential.

Here’s our list of must-have songs for your guiro-inspired playlist.

Santana’s Oye Como Va

Dusty Springfield’s The Look of Love

The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter

David Bowie’s The Man who Sold the World

Steely Dan’s Do It Again

Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring

Ton Loc’s Wild Thing

… And with a discerning ear you can pick it up in Stevie Wonder’s Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing

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