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Musical instrument - Shak-Shak

The Shak Shak or the maracas is a well-known musical instrument in Grenada. It can be seen in use alongside drums, steelpan or guitars.

Shak Shak - Musical instrument
Shak Shak - Musical instrument


The Shak Shak is made from hollow gourds or small calabashes. Inside of the Shak Shak are dried seeds. The Shak Shak has a short wooden handle. It is sometimes painted or it can be unpainted.

Shak Shak Grenada
Shak Shak


The Shak Shak has a distinct sound. Typically, two Shak Shaks are used together to make a complementary sound. On rare occasions, only one Shak Shak is used.

Where can be seen:

The Shak Shak can be seen in use on these occasions:

  1. Parang festival - Shak Shak can be used alongside string band instruments played by Parang bands on the sister isles of Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

  2. Church choirs - Shak Shak are used as a musical instrument by church choirs, regardless of the religion.

  3. Steelpan orchestras - The Shak Shak forms part of the musical instruments of the steelpan orchestra. There is usually one player in the back of the orchestra, playing a Shak Shak.

Other information:

Young children can have a toy Shak Shak to play with in the formative years.

Source: The Shak-Shak in the Lesser Antilles by Daniel Crawford

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