The music of Peru can be described as the very heartbeat of the country. For Peruvians, music is not just an act or a spectacle: it is life. The art of making musical instruments conveys the rich and ancient heritage that shows much of the national spirit. One World Projects hopes that you too share this spirit with your loved ones during the holiday season by purchasing one of our unique gourd instruments.
Peruvian artisans have practiced the art of gourd-carving for more than 4,500 years, transforming a simple squash into intricately designed bowls, boxes, and musical instruments. Over the centuries, artisans have found unique ways to craft gourd decor, including scratching, fine-line hatching, pyro engraving and carving. The details and designs have changed, but contemporary artisans remain inspired by Peru’s rich traditions.
A great example of the unique gourd technique is an instrument called Shekere, which is originally a West African maraca. Made out of a gourd with a net of seeds, it produces a variety of sounds when shaken. Using gourds for art forms is a traditional craft of the high Andean Mountains of Peru. Each gourd is skinned, cleaned, and sun-dried before artisans adorn their surfaces with etched and carved images. This Shekere is made from a specific gourd called the calabash or bottle gourd known for its long and slim shape. This piece is sure to bring authentic sound and creativity to any party.
Our hand-painted maracas made from gourds are a great gift for music lovers. The maraca, also known as shac-shacs in Trinidad and rumba shakers in some parts of Latin America, is a traditional percussion instrument throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. The gourds used are natural and uniquely shaped vegetables, similar to a pumpkin or a squash. When played, the musicians strike maracas against their hand or leg to get a distinctive sound.
This instrument, known as the Guiro is a percussion instrument. It is a gourd with carved grooves on one side to play music and a beautiful landscape with a musician in nature carved on the other. Various sounds can be produced by scratching the grooves or hitting it with a striker. This handmade Peruvian piece will sure to be a memorable gift under your Christmas tree.
Cochas Chico and Coches Grande are twin farming villages nestled in the Andean mountains of Huancayo, Peru, home to a rich tradition of gourd carving. The artisans that make these unique gourd instruments are Esperanza Palomino and Raquel Sabastian Rojas .These two women have established small fair-trade businesses to help create new jobs for the artisans in their village. Besides creating new jobs for artisans aged ten to sixty, both women manage work distribution from the main office to give priority to the families with the greatest need.
Esperanza carves her gourds wearing the colorful and traditional Huanca skirts, and it’s quite common to find her carving surrounded by her husband, sons, brothers, nephews and brothers-in-law. Her biggest dream is for all families to have work and a better future.
Raquel’s workshop creates work for about fifteen families and manages orders from the main office. Like Esperanza’s workshop, Raquel’s artisans share the work so that parents, children and grandparents collaborate together on large orders. She inherited the craft from her grandparents and parents, all the way to the present. Each generation improves the art and, it continues to grow with future generations.
If you are looking for memorable and one-of-a-kind gifts for your family and friends this holiday season, these Gourd Musical Instruments from Peru are perfect for you! They will bring a warm heartfelt atmosphere of Peruvian culture to your living room.