What is a marimba and Where did the marimba come from?

A marimba is a large wooden percussion instrument, like a xylophone. It is the national instrument of Guatemala and is played throughout Central America.

Central American music combines Spanish, Native American, and African influences. It has affinities to both Mexican and Caribbean music, rightly so, since Central America borders both regions.

Some musical forms cross borders.

The nueva cancion, or “new song,” movement appeared in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica. These songs denounced North American imperialism and called for social justice. But each country has its own distinctive forms.

El Salvador, for example, has the danza, a popular dance that combines the English country dance and the Spanish contradanza.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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