Friday 17 January 2020

Music in Honduras

Honduras is a place many people have never heard of but it is a country that captured my heart on a mission trip in the summer of 2010. Honduras is a small country located between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and is bordered by Nicaragua. El Salvador, and Guatemala.  The official language of the country is Spanish.  The people who live there are some of the sweetest people I have ever met.  They have nothing yet are happy with what they have. They work everyday hoping they will earn enough money to have food on their table that night.  I have been to Honduras the past three summers and after a long day of working with my Honduras friends I noticed that they come back home and blast music while they cook dinner, shower, etc.  Music seems to be how they calm down after a long day.  San Pedro Sula, a city in Honduras was ranked the number one most dangerous city in the world in 2011 and my friends there say it is stressful to walk to school, walk to the market, or do anything because one wrong step and they could be shot and killed or raped.  They say that music is how they escape from the reality of life each night.  Music is not just blasted in the house.  Through the nonstop honking of horns on the street you can hear music being played really loud.  Even the supermarkets have music playing very loudly, which makes it hard to talk to someone unless you are standing right next to them.  Music is a big part of the Honduran culture and it is part of their daily life.

Honduran music combines elements from African and European nations and creates a style of their own.  African culture in particular has influenced a type of music called Punta.  Punta was created by the Garifuna and it is very successful because the lyrics are in Spanish. Women generally compose the lyrics and most people say that it is very difficult to dance to.  In Spanish, the word Punta means, “point” as in “tip” so it is said that the name might have come from that because the dance is performed on the tips of the dancers toes.

Another popular type of music is Garifuna Music. This music came from the Nigerian slaves who from St. Vincent to Central America when the British conquered the region.  The Garifuna kept themselves apart from the social system and they created and distinctive culture for themselves.  Their culture included chumba and hunguhungu, a circular dance in the three beat rhythm, which is sometimes combined with Punta.

The Conch Shell. © Google
Instruments used are also unique and create a sound that is not typical in the United States. Traditional Honduran musicians use instruments such as the marimba, caramba, and the conch shell.  In addition to those instruments, other instruments that are popular, especially in the Garifuna culture are the accordion, guitar, tortoise shells, maracas.  The tortoise shell is played with two drumsticks.  The maracas are two hollowed-out shells, which carry natural seeds called, “tears of Saint Peter.”  The conch shell has multiple uses in the culture.  It is used to call for the community to come buy fresh fish when the fishermen arrive.  Another use for it is when a family member has strayed away from the community.

The Drums. © Google
The most basic instrument they use is the drum. The drums are simple and monotone and they are used to keep a steady beat for the music.

The most famous artist in Honduras is Guillermo Anderson.  His style is composed of many different styles such as, Afro-Caribbean percussions, contemporary sounds, local rhythms, and folklore of Honduras. His songs tell stories about issues such as the environment and healthcare.  The songs also talk about the natural beauty in Honduras, its people, and situations Hondurans face in everyday life.

The music in Honduras is very unique and has a style of its own. The people in Honduras relate to the songs written and it is an important aspect of their life.

•culled from

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