Music from the southern-Pacific region of Colombia filled Studzinki Recital Hall on Wednesday when the Afro-Colombian Music Ensemble played marimba under the direction of Professor Michael Birenbaum Quintero.
"The Afro-Colombian Marimba Ensemble—also known as the World Music Ensemble—is a half-credit course offered in the music department which has a concert every semester," said Quintero.
The class performed music cultivated for years by the inhabitants of Colombia who were descendants of enslaved Africans brought to mine gold in the region.
"The religious and secular music exhibits strong West and Central African characteristics, but also shows the influence of the region's indigenous groups and preserve some elements of 18th century Spanish folk culture and religion," said Quintero.
The marimba, an African instrument, is an important legacy of the African presence in Latin America.
"The Afro-Pacific marimba consists of chonta-wood keys suspended over bamboo resonators, often arranged in local tunings outside the notes of the Western scale," said Quintero.
In a typical marimba ensemble, men play percussion instruments while women serve as cantadoras, traditional singers in the music of the Pacific coast of Colombia.