Monday, July 27, 2009

Midsummer Harps and Marimbas.

The vast lands between the US border and Tierra Del Fuego are wealthy with sonic imaginations and discoveries. In Veracruz there are a number of ensembles that employ huge wooden harps originally brought by conquistadors and colonists to provide instruments for church services that were more portable than organs.

They eventually seeped into the secular worlds and come to us today as regional performance groups, of which, Conjunto Sones Jarocha may be the most prominent after they were recorded by Chris Strachwitz in the early 1960s.

They have one of the happiest sounds of any musical form and work well as a morning coffee listen on a sun soaked saturday porch.
Guatamala nearly makes a religion of marimbas as they have been used by Mayans for centuries.
The regions along the Pacific coasts of Columbia and Ecuador have a second , African derived marimba form made famous by Grupo Naidy.

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