MUSIC OF GUATEMALA
Marimba Music • The marimba is the most important instrument in Guatemalan folk music, which is influenced by the music of Spain and West Africa. • The marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala. • The earliest version of the instrument probably came from West Africa. • Afro-Caribbean slaves could have introduced this marimba to Guatemala as early as 1550.
Marimba Music • The modern Guatemalan marimba is built to accommodate three or four musicians at once. • A typical marimba band usually consists of a marimba for three players, another marimba for four players, a drum, a string bass, and sometimes one or two saxophones.
Mayan Music • Music played a key role in Maya culture. • Served many functions in society: In funeral ceremonies, celebration after battles. • During funerals, it is believed that a procession of drum and flute players would follow the casket of important women.
Mayan Music • Instruments include flutes of cane and bone, different types of whistles. • Marine shells (tortoise shells) and rattles used. • Also used are wood drums with skin of deer or jaguar.
Garifuna Music • In 1635 Spanish ships carrying Africans wrecked in the Eastern Caribbean. • Survivors swam ashore and took refuge among the indigenous people. • These Afro-Caribbean people were called Garífuna. • They eventually settled the shoreline of Central America (including Livingston, Guatemala).
Garifuna Music • Drums are typically made of hollowed out hardwood with the skins coming from wild bush pig, deer, or sheep. • The “sisera” are shakers made from the dried fruit of the gourd tree, filled with seeds, then fitted with hardwood handles. • In the early 1980s, punta rock, added the amplified guitar. • The most prominent Garífuna traditional genre is “punta.”
POP Music • Guatemala has produced a variety of popular performers. • These include pop singers, rock bands, heavy metal groups, salsa and merengue bands, hip hop and reggaeton. • A rock band from 1980s and 90s was the group AluxNahual.
POP Music • The best known pop singer/songwriter from Guatemala is Ricardo Arjona. • The 2007 Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. • 2006 Latin Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Album.