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Cantadoras del Pacífico
Currulao, the traditional music of the Colombian Pacific coast, revolves around a marimbero playing the marimba de chonta made from palm native to the region. The group also plays an array of percussion instruments that includes drums called bombos and cununos. The singers add a rhythmic and melodic counterpoint to the instruments.
Photo by Daniel Sheehy, Smithsonian Institution

The marimba is a vivid legacy of African presence in Latin America. But only on the Pacific coast of southern Colombia and northern Ecuador does it keep its close connections to a strongly African culture. Hailing from small towns along the Colombian coast, the seasoned women singers of Cantadoras del Pacífico raise their voices to the accompaniment of marimba and drums, performing their distinctive styles of music known collectively as currulao.

  • Carlina Andrade, vocals
  • María Juana Angulo, vocals
  • Gladys "Tití" Bazán, vocals
  • Ricaurter Cundumi Rivas, bombo
  • Ana Hernández, vocals
  • Julio César Mancilla Mafia, cununo
  • Tulio Fernando Prado Micolta, cununo
  • Carlos Henrique Riasco Castillo, marimba de chonta

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