by Edgardo Díaz Díaz


A vital component of this ensemble is the güiro, a gourd-derived idiophone (that is, an instrument whose vibration leads to a sound without the use of strings, membranes or air).
For a güiro player (often known as güirero/a), friction is all it takes for the player to produce the sound. This friction is done by scraping the gourd with a grater known as guayo or raspa, often made of hard metallic sticks implanted in handheld pieces of wood. Güiro is used in plena ensembles to bring further rhythmic stability and to connect participants with the pre-Colombian indigenous roots of the expression.

An example of a plena ensemble

from left seguidor, güiro, requinto and segundo

Los Pleneros de la 21 demonstrate the playing of the panderos

Uploaded - October 15, 2010.

Content credits Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Image Credits: Cortesy of Edgardo Díaz Díaz| All Rights Reserved