For the Achi, one of the several Mayan ethnic groups indigenous to Guatemala, the music of the marimba serves not only as a form of entertainment but also as a form of communication, a vehicle for memory, and an articulation of cultural identity. Sergio Navarrete Pellicer examines the marimba tradition -- the historical confluence of African musical influences, Spanish colonial power, and Indian ethnic assimilation -- as a driving force in the dynamics of cultural continuity and change in Rabinal, the heart of Achi culture and society. By examining the performance and consumption of marimba music as complementary parts of a system of social interaction, religious belief, and ethnic identification, Navarrete Pellicer reveals how the strains of the marimba resonate with the spiritual yearnings and cultural negotiations of the Achi as they try to come to terms with the political violence ...
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