The Whisper of the Marimba
El murmullo de la marimba

Director: Greta-Marie Becker
Ecuador/Germany | 2020 | Spanish with English subtitles | 79 min | Documentary

*Geo-blocked for viewing in Canada only.

View IN-PERSON at The CinemathequeSunday, Aug 28, 6:00pm
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The marimba is a bridge between Africa and Latin America. The sound of the wooden xylophone connects the present-day life on the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast with its African roots. Hundreds of years ago, the marimba music came to Ecuador across the sea. Stormy drum rhythms and the gentle, undulating melodies echo the violence and longing experienced during slave trade and colonial rule, and also tell the story of the centuries-old musical resistance of the Afro-Ecuadorian community. In 2015, UNESCO inscribed marimba music and traditional chants from this region on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

The Whisper of the Marimba portrays three generations of musicians who lay bare their worries and dreams as well as their unshakable trust in the power of art and music to nurture their identity and community.

El murmullo de la marimba, weaves traditional and contemporary composed songs into a rich exposition of the history and everyday lives of musicians from Esmeraldas city in Ecuador.  Like the title, the documentary moves at a steady and comfortable pace, which tends to exhibit and explain, rather than disturb or shock. Rosa Wila Valencia, Benjamin Vanegas and the González-Hurtado family, sing, dance and make instruments, and the camera follows them in these endeavors, as well as daily ones like going to the food market, to the beach, to visit a mentor in another town, and on a floating procession in the river in honor of the Virgin Mary.” – PHLAFF

La marimba es un puente entre África y América Latina. El sonido del xilófono de madera conecta la vida actual en la costa del Pacífico ecuatoriano con sus raíces africanas. Hace cientos de años, la música de la marimba llegó a Ecuador a través del mar. Los tormentosos ritmos del tambor y las melodías suaves y ondulantes nos recuerdan la violencia vivida durante la trata de esclavos y el dominio colonial y también cuentan la historia de la resistencia musical centenaria de la comunidad afro-ecuatoriana. En 2015, la música de marimba fue declarada Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad por la UNESCO.
“El Susurro de la Marimba” retrata a tres generaciones de músicos que ponen al descubierto sus preocupaciones y sueños, así como su inquebrantable confianza en el poder del arte y la música para nutrir su identidad y comunidad. Una historia de pérdida de memoria y reescritura de la historia …

GRETA-MARIE BECKER grew up in Germany and Ecuador, Europe and Latin America. Based in both regions of the world, she studied Theatre, Film and Media Studies, International Development and Gender Studies in Vienna, worked in Berlin for several film productions and received a teaching position at the University San Francisco de Quito in the Film and Video Art Department. She also engaged actively in non-university educational work and cultural activity in the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. From 2016 to 2019 Greta-Marie Becker studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany. The Whisper of the Marimba is her first feature-length documentary.