With music all around us (and even the promise of a Guns N’ Roses tribute concert coming to the Malecon in just a few days…) Maia needed a musical instrument of her own.
At the Tianguis in Empalme we could have bought a flute, or a tuba, or even a set of drums—but then Paula introduced us to the Flamboyant tree. A tropical tree which is known for its vivid red flowers (June-September), the Flamboyant or Royal Poinciana also grows a giant seedpod. And this big seedpod, when dried, becomes a percussion instrument known as the shak-shak, or maraca.
The best part of the shak-shak--which is even better than the concerts, dances and songs it helps you to produce—is that to get one you need to climb a tree.