continental drift 2/1/23: el salvador

Welcome back to another week of Continental Drift. Today we are drifting 1400 miles southwest to El Salvador. Find the playlist here, and listen back to the episode here.

The Republic of El Salvador is located in the center of Central America, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Honduras, and Guatemala. It is home to 6.5 million people, making it the 112th most populated country in the world. Their official language is Spanish.

The music of El Salvador was impacted in many ways by colonization. Indigenous Salvadorans had instruments such as the flute and drums, and when European colonizers came they brought with them the guitar, trumpet, and piano. The biggest impact, however, came from West African slaves who brought the xylophone, marimba, guira, and mbira with them. 

Stamp: Xylophone (Marimba de arco) Surcharged (El Salvador(Musical  Instruments) Mi:SV 1347,Sn:SV C492,Yt:SV PA466,Sg:SV 1669The xylophone is El Salvador’s national instrument

Xylophone sample:
El Celoso, Fox Trot – Marimba Centroamericana 1928

We’ll now go to a classic genre of central america: cumbia. We talked about Cumbia a lot in the Colombian episode of drift, specifically chicha, which is the Colombian regional version. Cumbia is just as popular in El Salvador. It is a dance music that comes from a blend of European, African, and indigenous styles. In El Salvador there exists Cumbia marmibera, which includes the marimba. 

Cumbia segment:
Salvadorena // Los Hermanos Flores
Se Me Perdió la Cadenita // La Sonora Dinamita, Lucho Argain

MINED autoriza desfilar antes del discurso de Bukele por el Día de la  Independencia

Performing Xuc

Xuc is a popular form of folk music in El Salvador. It is named after a Salvadoran instrument juco, which makes a “xuc xuc” sound. Xuc music is typically performed in 2/4 time and has its own distinctive rhythm dance.

Xuc segment:
El Xuc // Orquestra Internacional Polio

Zafacaite comes from the North in a city called Chalatenango. The name comes from zafa, from zafar (to loosen) and caite (shoes). This refers to the fast and intricate foot dancing pattern that sometimes causes shoes to fly off. 

Zafacaite segment:
El Levanta Polvo // Jhosse Lora
Chamorrito “La Zafacaite” (Composed by Maria Barratta, famous Salvadoran composer and ethnomusicologist)

American/British pop and rock influence in the 1960s and 70s created an “Epoca de Oro” (Golden age) of music in a genre called “Guanarock.” This comes from the slang term Guanaco, which Salvadorans use to refer to themselves. It means “brother” in Poton Lanca, an indigenous language. 

Guanarock segment:
El Bardo // Hielo Ardiente
Se me olvidara // Los Supersonicos

A2Bandas (2) | Debil Estar y Omnionn + Voltar – La Radio Tomada

Debil Estar on his radio show

The 90s saw a continuation of popular music that blended global styles with Salvadoran rythyms. Pescozada was a hip hop group founded in 1998 in Chalatenango. Debil Estar, one of the members, has a hip hop radio show on Salvadoran station YXY 105.7 FM!

90s Segment:
Telarañas en la Mente // Rucks Parker
Dias Oscuros // Pescozada, Triple Homicidio

Modern Segment:
Ultramar // Conjunto Tropidélico
Technicolor // Gaby Nieto, Ricardo Bendek, Naomy Diaz
Abajo del agua // Nativa Geranio