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Music from Guatemala 1 (Caprice Records)

Rabinal Achí ceremonial music
Marimba Alma Sololateca performs "Cinco pesos"

See also:
Garifuna Music: Honduras
Guatemala Volume Two
Stonetree Records from Belize

From the CD text:
Guatemala is not a rich country, measured solely in stricticaly economic terms. But if one looks instead at its fantastic history, its incredible natural scenery and the abundance of cultural traditions, then it is one of the richest countries that one can visit. Among green rainforests, fabulous mountain lakes and smoking volcanoes, traditions from Mayan culture dating back several thousand years have blended to various degree with impressions from Europe, which came with the Spanish conquests during the sixteenth century. The music on this CD thus covers a wide range. There are many examples here of Indian traditional music, played on the flute, shawm, fiddle, harp and percussion instruments from a number of the country's many different native cultures. But included here also is music played by a couple of the country's many local wind orchestras, as well as - above all - music played on the marimba, Guatemala's national instrument. This fascinating instrument is represented here in many forms, from the more traditional type used for the suggestive music played at the local dances, to the concert insrument that once gave the virtuosic, sophisticated music from Guatemala world-wide fame in salons and concert halls.

"Music From Guatemala (Caprice), a 2-CD compilation recorded in 1999 and co-produced by the Swedish Concert Institute and the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sports, presents the country's distinctive blend of Mayan, African and European musical traditions. Volume One offers brass band music played by civilian and military ensembles; the national fine arts concert marimba company; Q'eqchi and Kaqchikel Maya marimba music; Q'eqchi, Kaqchikel and K'iche ensembles of flute and drum; solo Kaqchikel harp (arpa criolla); and Q'eqchi string band (violin, guitar and harp) music. For me, the most unusual track is from Rabinal Achí, the K'iche sacred dance drama performed during January's patron saint fiesta of San Pablo Rabinal, Baja Verapaz. One does best, of course, to witness in person the performance, led by a slit-drum (tun) and two brass bugles (replacing the pre-Columbian conch-shell trumpet), accompanying costumed dancers who play cymbals and metal rattles, sometimes augmented by the sound of bells attached to their legs." - Michael Stone, RootsWorld

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