This sweetly-named Afro-Ecuadorian dance and music group,
is named in honor of the band members’ ancestors,
who toiled in the country’s sugar plantations in
days of yore. Formed in 1993, the Fundación de
Desarrollo Social Afroecuatoriano AZUCAR (Afro-Ecuadorian
Foundation of Social Development) also offers dance, music,
handcrafts and ethno-education workshops for children,
youths and adults.
The marimba is the signature instrument of their
music, which has been performed throughout Pichincha,
Imbabura and Carchi provinces in the Sierra; as well as
Esmeraldas and Guayas on the Coast. Complementing the
rhythms are great vocals and dance choreography.
member Rocío Villalba, noted that the group comprises
16 people in all. Among the troupe of musicians and dancers
are Diego Zurita (marimba), Andrés Espinosa and
Danilo Morales (cunucos – a type of rustic
conga), Pole Carabali (drums), Carlos Villalba (percussion),
Nilo Clìnger, Milton Bautista and Sonia Viveros
(vocals), plus an additional eight dancers.
rhythms are characterized as bambuco from Esmeraldas
province and bomba, characteristic of Chota Valley
and Carchi province. Bambuco is a quick dance whose choreography
is executed in lines and couples. Bomba, on the other
hand, looks like albazo (Ecuadorian Sierra musical
genre) rhythmically, and features guitars, maracas and güiros. One of the most spectacular dance
moves is seen when women dance sensually with bottles
of liquor balanced on their heads.
is popular throughout Ecuador and have also performed
in festivals in Colombia and Mexico. Among their most
recent achievements was their participation in the 2nd
International Festival of Music in Esmeraldas, where they
won first place. They also appeared at the recent Esmeraldas
group is currently preparing a CD compilation of their
10 years of performing. Sonia Viveros, the main coordinatorsaid:
"This activity is not merely dance; it is a recreation
of what nature offers us. Our ancestors represented their
lives in dance."