Marimba Music at Calle del Arco in Antigua

Marimba Playing in Calle del Arco

The marimba (pronunciation) has to be Guatemala’s most popular musical instrument. It is found in every single town’s fair, party and cultural event (almost). La Marimba, as it’s known in Spanish, is a type of xylophone with various origins. Guatemala claims to be THE origin of the marimba and, I believe, it is Guatemala’s National Music Instrument. For sure, Guatemala was indeed one of the origins of this particular percussion instrument and its sound.

Marimba music is so deeply rooted into the Guatemalan psyche that even the few of us that do not like it, recognize it and feel it; especially if we are abroad, as far as Kinshasa, Congo or in the good old U.S.A. For sure, you can hear marimba music on Calle del Arco on the weekends in La Antigua Guatemala.

For those chapines living abroad and for those who do not know what marimba music sounds like, I leave you with two samples of Guatemalan marimba music below. Dancing with the person nearest to you is allowed and encouraged. You can also check out a video clip of the marimba band playing at La Fonda de la Calle Real on the weekend in La Antigua Guatemala thanks to Xeni Jardin.

© 2007 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Hey, guess what Rudy? … Finally something you didn’t copy and won’t find in Tenerife! 🙂

    It’s a pleasant enough sound (though I won’t be rushing out to buy their greatest hits) and, I can see why it’s popular. Live in situ it really must be an integral part of the atmosphere.

  • Happy photo — love that it’s young people playing such a traditional and cultural instrument.

  • Pirata Cojo

    Muy bonito Rudy, gracias

  • It brought me into tears. Thanx Rudy. My abuelito used to play this when I was a kid.

  • Jerry T

    Cool photo shot. We got ice cream at this shop in the background 2 times on our last visit. YUM. I enjoyed the marimba music everywhere we went, but like most folks, would not like a steady diet of it.

  • Love this photo. Music is powerful medicine (if somewhat temporary) to the tragedies of the world…even if it is the marimba!

  • ale

    If Guate isn’t the origin of marimba, at least it was there where it acquired this level of complexity. I have seen marimbas in Africa but they aren’t as big and are usually played only by one person. Marimba music brings up many happy memories.

  • the other scott

    We had the good fortune to catch Las Alas Chapinas near Washington, DC, at last September’s Guatemalan Independence Day festival. Incredible to have flown those massive old wooden instruments all that way…they sounded great and had the crowd on their feet. Thanks for the post.

  • Ale Monroy

    Me hicieron llorar recordando a mi Bella Guate… que buena pagina…

  • Herbasio

    Being out of Guatemala, that instrument sounds different! I didn’t realize how deep inside my soul this kind of music was until now.

  • looks something like a xylophone

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  • Sam

    Te agradezco que de las dos piezas musicales hayas escogido Luna de Xelaju. Yo soy puro chivo, y el haber encontrado musica de mi tierra me trae muy gratos recuerdos. Gracias vos!

    Orale pues!

  • Me hicieron recordar a mi bella Guatemala. Los felicito porque tocan los intrumentos muy bien que Dios los Bendiga.

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  • Judy Jones

    None of links are good any more. too bad.