Marimba music, traditional chants and dances from the Colombia South Pacific region and Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador


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Inscribed in 2015 (10.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Buhofilms 2013

Marimba music and traditional chants and dances are musical expressions integral to the family and community fabric of people of African descent in the Colombian South Pacific region and Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador. Chanted stories and poems are performed by men and women at ritual, religious and festive events as a celebration of life, a form of worship to saints or as a farewell to the deceased, and are accompanied by rhythmic movements of the body. The marimba music is played on a palm wood xylophone with bamboo tube resonators, accompanied by drums and maracas. The element is rooted in family and daily activities and the community as a whole is considered the bearer and practitioner, irrespective of age or gender. Elderly people play a crucial role in transmitting legends and stories from oral tradition, while music teachers oversee the transmission of musical knowledge to new generations. Marimba music and traditional chants and dances promote symbolic exchanges that include food and drink. Each of these expressions facilitates family and collective integration through ancestral practices that heighten the sense of belonging to a particular group connected to a shared territory and history.