The year 2017 marks the 61st anniversary of Marimba Nandayapa, without a doubt, Mexico’s most important group of its kind and one of the most recognized marimba ensembles of the world.
Zeferino Nandayapa, a native of Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, is the founder and director of the group, whose origin goes back to the 1940’s. In 1952 he moved to Mexico City and four years later he founded the Marimba Nandayapa Ensemble, bringing the traditional marimba to the concert stage.
Mr. Nandayapa participated with the most important orchestras in Mexico, performing works that have been written and dedicated to him, as well as his own compositions and arrangements. In 1989 he was soloist with the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Eduardo Mata and in 2000 with the Madrid community Orchestra at the Madrid Municipal theater, as well as the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City. He was the recipient in 1996 of the National Arts Award.
Although at the beginning of his career, work as Marimba Nandayapa depended entirely to Zeferino, his sons Oscar and Norberto, joined the group from the year 1977, and in 1989 joined the youngest of the family, Javier.
Zeferino Nandayapa died in 2010, since the year 2011 to present time, Marimba Nandayapa Ensemble members are the three brothers Javier, Oscar & Norberto Nandayapa and two important representative musicians from the marimba tradition from Chiapas: Sandra Moreno & Eduardo Hernandez.
Since the beginning, Zeferino and his group have taken the Mexican marimba tradition to more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, and the American continent, where they have enjoyed success in such recognized international festivals & concert venues such as the Cultural Olympic games in Münich, Germany (1972) and Montreal, Canada (1976), Musical Youth International congress Zagreb, Croatia (1979). “Expo 92” in Seville, Spain; Omiya Sonic City Hall in Japan (1996), The Purcell Room in London, UK, (2001) The “Black Diamond” of the National Library in Copenhague, Denmark (2007); among others.
Marimba Nandayapa is the only Mexican Marimba group which has performed twice at the Carneghie Hall in New York.
They had been recognized with numerous awards both nationally and internationally, like The Peace Medal award from the United Nations Organization in New York (1977) and The European excellence award in Paris, France (1996).
They are also unique in teaching Mexican marimba in several music conservatories and universities in U.S.A., Japan Europe and Latin-America.
They have made over 70 recordings of including those for overseas for stamps: Audivis (France), Winter & Winter (Germany) and King Records (Japan).
In recent years, they have performed in several concert venues and international festivals in Mexico. They have performed as a soloist with the following Symphony Orchestras: National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Queretaro Philarmonic Orchestra, National Polytechnic Institute Symphony Orchestra, Secretariat of the Marine & Navy of Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Choir. Marimba Nandayapa recorded the soundtrack of the film “Coco” produced by Pixar animation studios in 2017.