A maraca (pronunciation (help·info)), sometimes called rumba shaker or chac-chac, is a rattle which appears in many genres of Caribbean and Latin music. It is shaken by a handle and usually played as part of a pair.
(Shaken idiophones or rattles)
Maracas (from Guaraní mbaracás), also known as tamaracas, were rattles of divination, an oracle of the Brazilian Tupinamba indigenous, found also with other native tribes, such as the Guarani, Orinoco and in Florida. Rattles made from Lagenaria gourds are being shaken by the natural grip, while the round Crescentia calabash fruits are fitted to a handle. Human hair is sometimes fastened on the top, and a slit is cut in it to represent a mouth, through which their shamans (payes) made it utter its responses. A few pebbles are inserted to make it rattle and it is crowned with the red feathers of the guarás (scarlet ibis). Every man had his maraca. It was used at their dances and to heal the sick. Andean curanderos (healers) use maracas in their healing rites.
Modern maraca balls are also made of leather, wood or plastic.
The manufacturer Latin Percussion produces a very popular maracas design type with plastic balls and a very rough filling (LP 281). Some other companies have copied them. These maracas are very loud and are also perfect as a toy musical instrument, e. g. in the music education for young children.
A maraca player in Spanish is a maraquero.
- Mendes, John (1976). Cote ce Cote la: Trinidad and Tobago Dictionary. Arima, Trinidad: Syncreators. p. 135.
- Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (1876), "Mbaracá", Vocabulario y tesoro de la lengua Guarani (ó mas bien Tupi), 2, Frick, p. 212b
- Julian H. Steward, ed. (1948), Handbook of South American Indians, 3, U.S. Government Printing Office, pp. 43, 129, 238
- Robert Southey (1810), History of Brazil, 1, Longman & Hurst, pp. 187–188, 635 Note: guarás is spelled idiosyncratically as "goaraz" in this historical source.
- Federico Kauffmann Doig (2005), "SOUTH AMERICAN INDIANS: INDIANS OF THE ANDES IN THE PRE-INCA PERIOD", in Lindsay Jones (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion, 13 (2nd ed.), Gale, pp. 8599–8605, ISBN 0-02-865982-1
- Blades, James (1992). Percussion instruments and their history (Rev. ed.). Westport, Conn.: Bold Strummer. ISBN 0-933224-61-3.