The music of Ecuador has a long history. Pasillo is a genre of indigenous Latin music. It is extremely popular in Ecuador, where it is the "national genre of music." Pasillo as a genre is also present in the highland regions of Colombia and to a lesser extent, Panama and Venezuela.
Today, it has incorporated more European features of classical dance, such as waltz. As it spread during the Gran Chaco period, pasillo also absorbed the individual characteristics of isolated villages. This gives it an eclectic feel; however, the style, tone, and tempo of the music differ in each village.
In its waltz, pasillo alters the classically European dance form to accompany guitar, mandolin, and other string instruments.
Pasillo, Pasacalle, and Yarabi are popular styles of folksong. the latter being similar to a flute, and is usually downtempo; it is descended from the waltz. Pasacalle is a form of dance music, while the sentimental Yarabi is probably the most popular form in Ecuador.
The mountainous, Andean region of Ecuador, the Sierra, is home to a style of music called Sanjuanito. The music of the Otavalo people is well known worldwide. A small panpipe called the rondador is the most distinctive instrument, but ensembles are typically groups of wind instruments, guitar trios, or brass bands. Folk rhythms include cachullapi, yumbo, and danzante. Musicians like Huayanay have helped to popularize Andean-Ecuadoran music.
Afro-Ecuadorian music is mainly of two types. Marimba music comes from Esmeraldas, and gets its name from the prominent use of marimbas, along with drums and other instruments specific to this region such as the bombo, the cununo and the wasa. Sometimes this music is played in religious ceremonies, as well as in celebrations and parties. It features call and response chanting along with the music. Some of the rhythms associated with it are currulao, bambuco and andarele.
On the other hand, in the Chota Valley there is bomba music. This music is very different from marimba, having a more prominent Spanish, mestizo and indigenous influence. It can vary from mid tempo to a very fast rhythm. It is usually played with guitars, as well as the main local instrument called bomba, which is a drum, along with a guiro, and sometimes bombos and bongos. A variation of it played by la banda mocha, groups who play bomba with a bombo, guiro and plant leaves to give melody. Soca music is popular in Esmeraldas
Religious practice among afro-Ecuadorians is usually Roman Catholic. There is no significant African religion, although Catholic worship is distinctive in Esmeraldas, and sometimes is done with marimba music.
The Fundación de Desarrollo Social Afroecuatoriano (AZUCAR) has existed since 1993, and offers a variety of workshops for all ages in music and dance, as well as handicrafts and other topics. More information can be found on their website here.
Ecuador has many annual festivals, with nearly every village celebrating a Roman Catholic Saint. The annual festival in August held in San Antonio de Pichincha is particularly well known, as is the independent music festival Quito Fest.
Media related to Music of Ecuador at Wikimedia Commons