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Gaita zuliana

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Title: Gaita zuliana  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Astolfo Romero, Zulia, Music of Venezuela, Friction drum, Tonada
Collection: Venezuelan Music, Zulia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gaita zuliana

Gaita is a style of Venezuelan folk music from Maracaibo in Zulia State. According to Joan Corominas, it may come from gaits, the Gothic word for "goat", which is the skin generally used for the membrane of the furro instrument. Other instruments used in gaita include maracas, cuatro, charrasca and tambora (Venezuelan drum). Song themes range from humorous and love songs to protest songs.

The style became popular throughout Venezuela in the 1960s, and it fused with other styles such as salsa and merengue in the 1970s.

Famous gaita groups include Maracaibo 15, Gran Coquivacoa, Barrio Obrero, Cardenales del Éxito, Koquimba, Melody Gaita, Estrellas del Zulia, Saladillo, and many others. The group Guaco started as a gaita group but now plays salsa.

Trinidad has adopted gaita and calls it parang with some variation. Trinidad shares a common history of Spanish colonisation with Venezuela and there have been close relationships between the two countries with many aspects of shared culture. Since Trinidad shares a history of oil exploration & production with Venezuela, many early workers within the Venezuelan oil industry came from Trinidad and this has stimulated many interactions between the peoples. The Taíno people from Venezuela first settled Trinidad 10,000 years ago before sea level rise further divided Trinidad from mainland Venezuela.


There are many types of Gaita.

Furro Gaitas
  • Folk Gaita (disappeared)
  • Contemporary Gaita
  • Pop Gaita
  • Romantic Gaita
Other types, from Zulia
  • Santa Lucía Gaita
  • Tambora Gaita (Tamborera)
  • Perijanera Gaita

Further reading

  • Carruyo, L. (2005), "La gaita Zuliana: Music and the politics of protest in Venezuela", Latin American Perspectives 32 (3), pp. 98–111

Gaita Sites

  • (Spanish) Gaita
  • (Spanish) Sabor Gaitero
  • (Spanish) Nuestra Gaita
  • (Spanish) Las 100 gaitas del siglo
  • (Spanish) Tradicion Gaitera
  • (Spanish) Trinidad Parang
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