Central American music
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Central America is dominated by the popular Latin music, or Black Caribbean trends, including salsa, cumbia, mariachi, reggae, calypso and nueva canción. The countries of Central America have produced their own distinct forms of these genres such as Panamanian salsa, among others. One of the well-known forms of Central American music is punta, a style innovated by the syncretic Garifunas who live across the region, in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize. The marimba, a type of xylophone, is perhaps the most important folk instrument of Central America, and it is widespread throughout the region.
Aside from having the most active Garifuna music scene, especially the field of punta, Belize is also known for brukdown, a popular genre that developed in the mining camps in the interior of the country.
The Punto Guanacaste is the official national dance of Costa Rica, a country perhaps best known for its own distinct variety of popular calypso music.
El Salvador has participated in many Latin musical trends, such as cumbia, a genre more closely associated with Colombia but which has a unique sound in El Salvador. The Xuc was decreed the national dance in the 1950s, it has ever since been played in Salvadoran festivals and holidays, it is considered part of El Salvador's folkloric music. Salvadoran Native American indigenous music is very well represented inspired by the Lencas and Pipil. Salvadoran revolutionary war songs date from the events that led to the civil war. Salvadoran school and military marching bands are part of the cultural tradition of El Salvador youth, participating twice in the international Rose Parade. Salvadoran Rock and Salvadoran Hip Hop/Rap are both very well established in El Salvador as well.
Guatemala, like its neighbors, is well known for the national instrument, the marimba. Guatemalan traditions are much more closely based on the instrument, and on ancient Mayan music, than other Central American countries.
Nicaraguan music is traditionally marimba-based, it also includes Garifuna music. The most well-known dance and music of Nicaragua is Palo de Mayo. Palo de Mayo is the name given to the dance as well as the music genre that originated in the festival of the same name that is celebrated every day of May annually in Nicaragua.
The mejoranera, an instrument similar to a guitar, is a popular instrument unique to Panama. The country is also known for the tamborito folk dance and the many international stars of Panamanian salsa and Panamanian cumbia.