Language(s): Eng, Esp
Marimba music and traditional chants of Colombias South Pacific region are the heritage of Afro-Colombian groups in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño. Chanting by women and men (cantadoras and chureadores) blends with acoustic instruments, handcrafted using local materials: palm-wood Marimbas, wooden and leather bass and hand drums, and bamboo and seed rattles. This music is performed principally during four rituals: Arrullo, Currulao, Chigualo and Alabao. Arrullo is a saint worship ritual led by women, who prepare the saints, candles and altars and perform chants accompanied by drums and, on occasion, Marimbas. The Currulao (or Marimba Dance) is a festive occasion. Men play the Marimba and perform profane chants while people sing, dance, eat and drink, and recount stories. The Chigualo is a wake following the death of a young child. The body is covered with flowers and a cappella chants are performed around it. The Alabao is a wake following the death of an adult, where extremely sad chants are sung, also a cappella. Musical knowledge of these traditions is passed on orally from generation to generation with younger performers guided by more experienced musicians. With a large proportion of the Afro-Colombian population of the region having moved to urban areas in recent decades, their musical heritage remains an important source of community identity, whether in their home villages or in town.