Guiro (3 Videos)

The guiro was native to Cuba before the Spaniards arrived, and survives to this day as one of the most essential Afro-Cuban percussion instruments. No charanga group (flute, violins, bass, piano, timbal, conga) can exist without it, as its role on the rhythm section is irreplaceable, particularly in the danzon. There are musicians in Cuba who only play guiro, and whose place in Cuban music history is defined by heir skill on the instrument—most notably Gustavo Tamayo and Enrique Lazzaga come to mind. But Changuito will tell you that he could not play without Julio Varona standing next to him playing guiro in Los Van Van.