The marimba is a vivid legacy of African presence in Latin America, but only on the Pacific coast of southern Colombia and northern Ecuador does it keep its close connections to a strongly African culture. As well as an extensive variety of percussion, these exuberant traditional songs by the female singers of Grupo Naidy feature the giant African version of the instrument—the 24 keys of which are often played by two musicians. Among the 12 tunes are "Mi gallo corococó" ("My Rooster Crows"), "Lo que me Trajo el Niño Dios" ("What the Christ Child Brought Me"), and "Vamos a adorar a Antonio" ("Let's Worship Saint Anthony").
"The music is quite African-influenced in nature, to the point where some listeners with a general familiarity with world music might not guess the performers were South American. The haunting, somewhat doleful quality of the women's voices is highlighted on the percussion-less 'Oi, Ve (Listen, Look),' though it's atypical of a set that usually makes the propulsive rhythms a key feature."—All Music Guide
Colombia’s unique geographic location—adjoining both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans—disperate topography, and centuries-old mix of Spanish, African, and Native Indian cultures have given rise to some of richest and most diverse styles of traditional music in the Western Hemisphere: from the accordian-driven vallenato of the eastern valleys and the exuberant, syncopated joropo of the plains to the African-derived marimba music of the Pacific Coast and the widely exported cumbia of the Caribbean Coast, whose shuffling rhythms echo the shackled gait of slaves. Each CD is extensively annotated to place the performances in their regional and cultural contexts.
The folk music archives that form the wellspring of these Smithsonian recordings are truly incomparable. Encompassing a wide variety of styles, they reflect the heart, soul, and backbone of the American experience as well as indigenous music from around the world. Folkways' impeccable sound and documentation does these artists proud, setting their work off as the treasure it is.