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PREMIÈRE: Latest Video from Rio Mira, Exploring African Heritage of Colombia and Ecuador’s Pacific Coast

By 02 November, 2017

The southern Pacific region of Colombia and Ecuador’s Esmeraldas province may be separated by a border, but it hasn’t affected their musical synchronicity. On Rio Mira‘s debut album musicians from this particular stretch of the Pacific coast have joined together to celebrate their collective musical traditions, with special focus on the staple instrument that is the marimba, a xylophone made of palm wood. It’s an instrument that marks the region out as distinctive to other areas of Latin America where there were once large numbers of slaves, and it really comes to the fore in their latest video for “Adios Morena”, a track written by Colombian marimba player Esteban Copete.

In total there are 5 million Afro-Colombians and 1 million Afro-Ecuadorians but it’s only recently that people have started to take note of their music, with UNESCO declaring the marimba an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2015. In Colombia, groups like Canalón de Timbiqui and their enigmatic front-woman Nidia Góngora, as well as Hugo Candelario, Herencia de Timbiqui and a slew of other recent groups, have helped put Colombia’s Pacific coast music on the world music map recently, but it has been slower going in Ecuador. However, thanks to Rio Mira – whose members hail from Ecuador and Colombia – the word is starting to get out. Here’s the group to explain this fight to be heard:

“Because the Afro-Ecuadorian people represent only 8% of the total population of Ecuador, their ancestral music was never given much space in the media, but thanks to a resurgence with new talent and promoters this has allowed the genre to spread and gain exposure in larger spaces, helping make projects like Rio Mira get a good reception from audiences inside and outside the country.”

Rio Mira’s debut album Marimba Del Pacifico is available from AYA Records.

Watch “Adios Morena” below:

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