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Pahgosa Marimba Ensemble performs at Town Park

The newly forming Pahgosa Marimba Ensemble performed Sunday afternoon at the gazebo in Town Park to a dancing, enthusiastic crowd.

Doug and Laurel Epps moved to Pagosa last year after living in Homer, Alaska ,where there are now five Zimbabwean marimba ensembles. Doug fell in love with playing Zimbabwean music while living up in Homer and has brought this high energy poly-rhythmic music to Pagosa!

This Zimbabwean music movement first came to Seattle in 1968 when an artist in residence was brought to the University of Washington to teach his music. It was like a pebble that was dropped into a pool of water – a ripple effect was started that is continuing to this day. There are several large Zimbabwean music communities in Seattle, the San Juan Islands, British Columbia, Portland, Eugene, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Boulder, as well as several places in Texas, Hawaii and Alaska. There are other pockets of people playing this music throughout the U.S, Canada, Australia, Europe and Japan. Now Zimbabwean music can be found in Pagosa Springs, the newest community embracing the power of this music.

A Zimbabwean marimba ensemble typically consists of eight people playing the three soprano, two tenor, one baritone and one bass marimba and a player shaking the Zimbabwean style gourd rattles called “hosho.”

The music consists of interlocking rhythmic patterns with each instrument playing different melodies that form new resultant rhythms and melodies. Each individual part is fairly simple, making the music easy to learn for people of all musical skill and age levels, however, the complexity of the resultant music is what makes it compelling. It is currently being taught in public and private schools in many areas of North America. Besides experiencing the joy of playing music, many life skills are learned as a result of working together as a group.

Doug would love to talk with anyone interested in learning how to play. Call Doug and Laurel at 903-2776.