Instruments of Cuba Series No. 1 – Chekeré


The Chekere is an instrument hailing from West Africa and consists of a dried gourd with beads woven into a net covering the gourd’s surface. Throughout the continent there are similar gourd/bead or gourd/seed percussion instruments. This particulary instrument is used both within folkloric traditions and popular music styles. In performance it is shaken and/or hit against the hands.

In Cuba the chekeré (always spelled thus) is also known as aggué (abwe) or guiro (a word that means ‘gourd’, though not to be confused with a different percussive instrument, more specifically known as a guiro worldwide and “raked” with a stick as found in Salsa and Cumbia genres.

The Chekere’ round, attached is almost entirely surrounded by a network of cords, to which many colored beads are attached. Widely used in Afro-Cuban sacred and popular music, it may be twisted, shaken or slapped by an open hand which produces a variety of percussive effects.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Related Stories