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 and economic hardship wrought by their colonial past.
Sergio Navarrete Pellicer is Professor and Researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social (CIESAS) in Oaxaca, Mexico.
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. A History of the Achi People of Rabinal2. The Belief in the Dead3. Concepts and Classifications of Music4. The Marimba and the Son5. Good and Evil: Music, Alcohol, and Women6. Musical Occasions7. Cognition, Values, and the Aesthetics of Music8. The Economy of the Son and the Pieza9. Music within Social Interaction10. Conclusion: "Who Am I to Know Better Than the Ancestors?"Contents of Compact DiscAppendix 1: OrthographyAppendix 2: CofradiasAppendix 3: Musical Ensembles, Repertoires, and OccasionsAppendix 4: Synopses of Dance-DramasNotesGlossaryDiscographyReferencesIndex