In Fun
Relationship: Im/migrant

The güira is a metal scraper used as a percussion musical instrument in Dominican merengue. Merengue is often referred to as the national dance of the country, which shows how important the guira is to Dominican identity. The guira has a great significance in Dominican history and culture due to how frequently it is used in these latin Caribbean musical genres, such as merengue, tipico merengue, bachata, and cumbia. The guira is so important for Dominican culture and identity because it represents the festive and nonchalant outlook most Dominicans have towards life.  Although Dominicans tend to be loud, we are (for the most part) easy going, and humble. We often find the good in every bad situation, and we tend to have frequent gatherings in celebration of how healthy we are. However, the guira wasn't always accepted due to its association with the strong African-rooted dance Merengue. It was often rejected by the upper class and those with European roots. Nevertheless, merengue along with the guira prevailed and it became accepted nationwide in the 1960s. However, my family has always had a long history with the guira. My family who grew up in the poor community of San Felipe often celebrated with guiras in times of happiness or even in times of struggle, which is why the guira is so traditional to the reynoso family. 

Place(s): Dominican Republic
Year: 1994

– Elimelly Reynoso

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant