About Modern Marimba

Our Story

Since its humble beginnings in late 2019, Modern Marimba has collaborated with local Sarasota arts organizations such as The Newtown Nation, Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, WSLR, FabAF Foundation, ALSO Youth, WEDU PBS, Community Foundation of Sarasota, the Patterson Foundation, and The Bay. In conjunction with in-person programs throughout the pandemic, Modern Marimba has produced various virtual programs involving musicians, students, and audiences from all around the world. This is an opportunity to affirm the importance of equity and diversity by building community with many types of people.

Modern Marimba (MODMA) is a cultural destination for the performing arts, featuring marimba, vibraphone, and other mallet percussion keyboard music in the colonized and occupied area of Southwest Florida – this land was formerly Calusa, Tocobaga, and Seminole territory and was also once inhabited by Black Seminoles and an Angolan community of maroons. We have a responsibility to honor this land (and water) and ultimately return control of the land back to Native people, as they have stewarded the land for thousands of years before Western colonization.

Our primary purpose is to amplify, reclaim, and affirm musical voices of living, formerly living, and collective peoples who have been marginalized and oppressed throughout western history. MODMA is driven to create spaces to listen, recognize, and reflect on powerful expressions of ideas through sound – and we are committed to collaborating with schools, grassroots community organizations, arts organizations, and Earth justice groups to build a healthier and sustainable world.

With generous support grounded in equity, we are able to realize our goals by offering a unique range of programs — this includes concert music, virtual lectures, and outdoor programs featuring internationally acclaimed musicians from our local community and beyond.

There are fewer and fewer opportunities where people can come together and listen to live music, so we welcome everyone to join us in experiencing Modern Marimba.

Commitment to Justice

Modern Marimba seeks to learn, take action, and partner with those who take responsibility and action in creating sustainable and equitable musical ecosystems that dismantle oppression and dismantle white supremacy: socially conscious audiences, music creators, composers, musicians, artisans, arts leaders, musical instrument manufacturers, performing artists, educators, and students/parents; organizations in mutual aid, human rights, social justice, environmental justice, disability justice, LGBTQ2IA+ rights, and especially racial equity; and ethically conscious businesses, supporters and patrons.

We want to normalize justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and that’s why we prioritize our partnerships with people from the following historically marginalized groups: BIPOC (Black Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQ2IA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, two-spirit, intersex, asexual, non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid, femmes and all the many Queer identities that are wonderful), people with Disabilities, and Women.

As a nonprofit organization, MODMA also seeks to participate in the lifelong process of learning by offering education programs in music for young people in Southwest Florida, and we hope to inspire, support, and learn from younger generations of creative, empathetic, and intelligent humans.

About the Marimba

The marimba is sounded by striking wooden bars with a mallet. People in almost every culture developed a marimba-like instrument, but one source of the origin of its name is derived from the Bantú languages, a large family of languages spoken in Sub-Sarahan Africa, in which rimba suggests a “a sound of wood” such as a bar, and ma is a cumulative prefix; thus, marimba can be translated as “many sounds of wood”.

Other sources translate the marimba to mean “wood that sings”.

Learn about the various histories of the marimba from Virginia Alcarria’s YouTube channel, Virginia’s Marimba Stories (captions available). Modern Marimba hopes to learn more and amplify artistic creations in this world of mallet keyboard music.