A gourd is a fruit from a flowering plant species in the family Cucurbitaceae, there are many species of gourd, some with hard shells and some without. They do vary a lot as most fruits do, some can be very small making the shape of a typical shaker and some can be extremely heavy and large, mainly the variety Zucca melon (the giant gourd.)
Edible gourds include the ones usually referred to as squash, whilst most are only ornamental due to there hard shells, being inedible and not tasting very nice. Pumpkin is also a member of the same family as gourds.
Growing them as a plant can be possible if they are given full sun and rich well-drained soil, they do also grow very quickly and should have some type of support such as a trellis or fence.
Gourds are wonderful and are extremely multipurpose, they can be used decoratively, functionally as a musical instrument, but can also be burned, carved, painted and stained. You can even carve pieces out of the dried gourd to make your very own jewellery crafts. A gourd can be made into many types of shaker including a beaded maraca, maraca, or shekere, they also make for a good guiro, if you have the skills!
A guiro is a percussive musical instrument that is played by scraping a stick along the blocks indents, whilst this one does not come with a stick it is still beautifully decorated and is a multipurpose guiro gourd rainstick shaker from Peru with the addition of a handwoven strap.
Gourd shakers are traditionally made in West Africa, this percussions instrument is dried, and then has beads attached to a netting that is placed on the outside of the gourd. When the instrument is being shaken, the beads hit the outside which in turns makes for a rhythmic sound. For extra style and also for protection, most handles will have some type of woven band around the neck of the instrument so that you can put your hand through to avoid dropping it and of course to look good!
A more unusual instrument is a thumb piano made from half a gourd fruit, it has the addition of steel-sprung keys, and the large gourd fruit creates a natural resonance chamber. We love gourds and all of the creative products that can be made from such a wonderful fruit.
This is the largest version of our thumb pianos, with upgraded sprung steel keys and a large resonating Gourd fruit shell of approx 20cm diameter, sizes and design will vary. This one has 8-notes that you can play, and experiment with. This fairtrade kalimba would make a perfect gift for any passionate musician, its intricate dot pattern is exquisite!
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