Costa Rican National Assembly Declares the “Guanacaste Quijongo” Cultural Heritage of the Nation

    At present there are only two live practitioners of this tradition who know the details of the construction and execution of the musical instrument

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    The Guanacaste Quijongo is a musical instrument made up of a two meter long rod from the tree called “Guácimo de Calnero”, a rope tied end to end, a sound box, a plains jícaro and a handkerchief. It is currently considered a Guanacaste musical heritage, and this past week 40 National Assembly deputies approved to declare it a Costa Rican Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    “Without a doubt it is part of the Costa Rican cultural heritage. The Afro-descendants who arrived in this country at different times and who settled in Guanacaste, used it to develop their musical culture. Recognizing this contribution seems important to me; this results in the first article of our Constitution that says that Costa Rica is a multi-ethnic and multicultural country,” explained legislator David Gourzong.

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    There are only two remaining live carriers of the tradition
    According to the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCJ), there are currently only two carriers of this tradition, who also know the details of the construction and execution of the Guanacaste quijongo: Eulalio Guadamuz, from Bagaces and Isidro Guadamuz de la O, of Santa Cruz.

    Both are also called “living treasures” and were recognized with the 2014 National Prize for Traditional Popular Culture from the MCJ, since they are the last quijongueros dedicated to the transmission of knowledge about this instrument. In alliance with the Ministry of Public Education (MEP), the MCJ has worked to rescue and preserve this cultural manifestation, through workshops for music teachers in the province.

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