Fine sounds came out of the speakers in a clarity and intensity that drove the woman holding the Güiro into an all-consuming synchronicity with the music. We talked about hometowns, shared places, geographic insider jokes like Mentone Beach. Connecting with friends and the music, standing within our host's sound-proofed musicroom, the rhythmic insistence of the Güiro bound us together back to our youth. One vato was in Vietnam when I was in Korea. We laughed at how good it is he is standing here with us. The Güiro makes things like this happen.

Readraza recommends you find a copy of Alurista's Nationchild Plumaroja and read Let Yourself Be Sidetracked By Your Güiro. A better idea--get your own Güiro and take the poet's advice.

Readraza is pleased to share, below, a pamphlet included with California Crafters Güiros. Because Readraza occasionally has access to California Crafters Güiros, Email Readraza for more information.

California Crafters Indigenous Arts Workshop & World Market Importers

Timber Bamboo Güiro

Güiro; (’wee • rohh). n., Span. A percussion instrument made of a serrated hollow member and played by scraping a striker, often a hardwood rod, along its surface, or striking sharply in a drumming fashion.

All cultures produce Güiro-like rhythm instruments, designed in gourd, stone, bone, sheet-metal, and plastic pipe, and only recently have California Crafters explorers located the original source of timber bamboo instruments of rarest quality and satisfying tonality. This is the story of our discovery.

California Crafters Discovers Native Güiro Artisan

In an area little visited by outsiders, a path leads the unsuspecting wanderer deep into an unknown region. The wind carries rhythmic music, guiding the footsteps of the wanderer to a remote settlement where an aging Indio toils at his workshop.

Explorers from California Crafters Indigenous Arts Workshop & World Market Importers travel all over the globe seeking out the most beauteous and interesting musical designs. For years we heard tales about the timber bamboo Güiros crafted in the ancient manner by a legendary Güiro master. Out of respect for a village's privacy, and the hermit artisan’s express wishes, we are at liberty to disclose only the Güiro master's American-- which is to say, Mexican-- origin.

In a remote area where outsiders are not particularly welcomed thus little visited by outsiders, a hidden path leads the unsuspecting wanderer deep into the unknown. Local residents, reluctant to disclose, yet bound by custom to xenophilic hospitableness, counsel outsiders “siguen sus oidos" or, follow your ears, and point out the least treacherous trail, where heavy thickets grab at hair and clothes as if to prevent access to the magic of this hidden place. The din of swirling wild winds now and again carry snippets of rhythmic music to guide the wanderer’s footsteps. Ultimately, we discern clearly an intermittent rrrattt rrat rrat rrraaatttt rratt rrat. We follow our ears to discover a remote settlement, where an aging Indio toils in his workshop, carrying on traditions handed down from generation to generation, fashioning bamboo segments into Güiros.

The indio works quietly and deliberately, crafting each Güiro to specifications that emerge, he explains, from the materials themselves. Some emerge highly decorated, typically featuring reptile, palm tree, or other nature mimetic, either heat inscribed or carved into the wood. Reliefed creatures are extremely rare thus all the more prized.

Note: When California Crafters Indigenous Arts Workshop & World Market Importers first met the hermit artisan, his primitive tools limited output to only a few finished items per year. In exchange for exclusive world-wide marketing rights we provided modern power tools that enhanced output a hundredfold with no diminution of an indigenous Güiro’s enchanting effects.

Your Güiro has been treated in the United States with tung oil to protect the wood and provide a long lifetime. Regular rubbing of the exterior surface with a soft cloth will deepen the sheen of the natural bamboo wood. This, and regular playing and handling, is all the maintenance your Güiro requires.


Illustrated at right.

Rarely seen ceremonial Güiros. Top, heat inscribed and slightly reliefed Güiro. Bottom, high relief Güiro, its sound holes formed by the reptile's ribs and tail. Each is possessed of a deep, richly satisfying tonality.

Safety Reminders.

• Exercise care in cleaning your Timber Bamboo Güiro, as tiny espinas can work loose from the slits or soundholes causing painful and hard-to-extract wounds.

• This is not a toy. Do not point it at anyone unless you intend to use it. Protect your right to keep and bear Güiros.

Playing Your Güiro.

Let yourself be sidetracked by your Güiro (Alurista) • Use round strikers. Experiment with different dimensions and grips until the full voice of your Güiro emerges. Hold the Güiro at the closed end. Draw the striker lightly, in short bursts or along the entire length, then draw the striker back the way you came. You can also strike the Güiro, either on the unserrated face or across the soundholes.

Enjoy yourCalifornia Crafters Indigenous Arts Workshop & World Market Importers Timber Bamboo Güiro

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