Esmeraldas is a province in the northwest of Ecuador. It’s predominantly Afro-Ecuadorian, and the reason why is really interesting! According to Lonely Planet, in 1553 a slave ship anchored off Ecuador’s north coast was wrecked during a storm. The 23 slaves on board overpowered their captors and escaped, settling in the northwest. The population grew, and Ecuador is now 5% Afro-Ecuadorian.
Not surprisingly, African roots are still evident in much of Esmeraldan culture, one example being marimba. Marimba is both a musical instrument (a type of xylophone) and a type of dance (accompanied by said instrument and lots of drums). A few of my Esmeraldan friends are involved in a marimba group, and their 8th anniversary performance happened to coincide with a recent work trip I took to Esmeraldas. I was so excited to finally see this dance in person!
And this duet – I absolutely ADORE how flirtatious it is. The guy is my friend Fercho – I wish the video quality had uploaded better so you could see how expressive his face is during this dance!
PS – I really love being able to see traditional dances in their places of origin. For example: