Marimba Quest

An upbeat world music/jazz tour of the Americas guided by the marimba, an instrument with roots in the rainforests of Central America. Instrumentation includes two marimbas, acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. Musical influences range from Brazil and the Dominican Republic to Mexico and the Andean region of South America.

The Compact Disc recording contains two extra tracks: "Marimbas of Antigua" and "Festive Huapango". "Festive Huapango" appears on Marimba Quest's "Christmas Carnaval" release.

1991 - Talking Taco TT-114

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  1. Eagles (4:43)
  2. Carnaval (3:37) - [Listen!]
  3. Raindrops (6:01) - [Listen!]
  4. Incidents of Travel (4:20)
  5. Marimbas of Antigua (3:55) - [Listen!]
  6. Rio (5:35)
  7. Rain Dance (4:26) - [Listen!]
  8. Cafe Merengue (2:14) - [Listen!]
  9. Poems In the Sand (4:19)
  10. Festive Huapango (2:33) - [Listen!]
  11. Fantasia Chiapas (1:48)

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this recording benefits the children of Latin America through the Save The Children Program.

All compositions by Alice Gomez except "Rain Dance" (Alice Gomez and Marilyn Rife) and "Poems In the Sand" (Michael Richter). "Raindrops" and "Rain Dance" are published by Southern Music. All other compositions are published by Musiquest ASCAP.

Copyright © Talking Taco Records / All Rights Reserved.

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Alice Gomez:
marimba, electric bass, congas and electronic drum programs.
Marilyn Rife:
marimba, castanets, bongos, tambor Indio, rainstick, maracas
Michael Richter:
nylon-string guitar
Guest Musicians:
Madalyn Blanchett: transverse flute on "Raindrops"
Linda Gomez Richter: claves on "Incidents of Travel" and sleigh bells on "Rain Dance"

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Production Credits

  • Cover Art: Mark Harlien
  • Inside Photo: Warren Johnson
  • Recorded By: Joe Treviño, Elephant Tracks Studio, San Antonio, Texas
  • Executive Producer: Ben Tavera King

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The Marimba

The marimba was one of the premiere "world music" instruments centuries before the concept became trendy.

Though the exact origin of the contemporary marimba is up to conjecture, it is known that it has roots in both Central America and East Africa. Musicologists originally believed African slaves brought the marimba to the New World during the 1500s. However, further research has revealed that the indigenous peoples of what is now Mexico and Central America already had their own form of the marimba.

The marimba's keyboard is usually made out of rosewood, which is referred to as the "musical wood" by marimba makers because it is said to give out a musical sound when craftsmen work with it after the trees have been cut down.

The music on "Incidents of Travel" explores the marimba's roots as well as delving into the instrument's unlimited possibilities.

Compositions such as "Marimbas of Antigua" and "Fantasia Chiapas" show off the marimba's sound as you'd hear it strolling through a village in Southern Mexico or Guatemala.

In a contrast to the quaint sound of those tunes is the marimba playing in the highly syncopated, Afro-influenced music of Brazil and the Dominican Republic in "Rio" and "Cafe Merengue," respectively.

The marimba's indigenous heritage in the Americas is shown to great advantage with "Eagles," a tune with a distinctly Andean feel and "Rain Dance," a song with a definite Native American approach.

"Raindrops" takes the marimba into the formal music of the 20th Century by combining elements of ethnic and minimalist music.

Taken as a whole, "Incidents of Travel" leads the listener on an intriguing journey of the Americas via an instrument with a long history and an exciting future.

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