According to stories passed down through generations, the story of the marimba may have started a long time ago in Africa. It was said that holes were dug in the ground and wooden bars were placed over the hole. When the bars were hit, they made a sound. Then, gourds (think vegetable from the pumpkin family!) were hung under the bars and the sound resonated even more inside them.
When African people were sent across the sea as slaves, it is thought that they took their instrument with them to Central and South America. The gourds were swapped for metal pipes as resonators and that is what a modern day marimba has developed into. The instrument is now popular all around the world and can be heard played from traditional bands to classical orchestras.
Here are two schools from South Africa playing in a marimba ensemble. Some of the music is popular music which you might recognise from listening to songs on the radio. One piece is a medley of music by Vivaldi which you would normally hear played on classical instruments. Another is their own modern composition. Look at how much energy they put into their playing and how well they perform together.