For nearly a century, the Nandayapa family of Chiapa de Corzo has designed and built some of the finest and most sought-after marimba instruments in the world. The marimbas come in all sizes, including 8-foot, 6.5-octave concert masters, and their intricate adornment makes each one as much a piece of art as a musical instrument.
The family home doubles as its workshop (Av. Independencia 36, tel. 961/616-0012, cnandayapa [at] yahoo [dot] com) and visitors are offered hour-long presentations on marimba history, construction, and music, including a short concert. Unfortunately, the workshop is open only to groups with advance appointments; there are plans for drop-in hours, but nothing definite.
Carlos Nandayapa Vargas is the current point person; he speaks Spanish, English, and Italian, and may be able to include independent travelers (US$2.50 pp) in an already-scheduled group.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition