Rafael Manzanares Aguilar

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Rafael Manzanares Aguilar
Born(1918-07-17)July 17, 1918
DiedJuly 28, 1999(1999-07-28) (aged 81)
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Nationality (legal)Honduras
EducationPrimary Education, Escuela Normal de Occidente in La Esperanza
Jurisprudence, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa
Occupation(s)Ethnographer, folklorist, author, and composer
Employer(s)Ministry of Public Education, Tegucigalpa
Known forRecorded, preserved, and restored traditional Honduran music and dance.
TitleDirector of the Cuadro Nacional de Danzas Folklóricas de Honduras
Parent(s)Santiago Manzanares and María de los Ángeles Aguilar

Rafael Manzanares Aguilar (July 17, 1918 – August 28, 1999) was educated in law, and a professor and Honduran folklorist, an author and a musical composer. Rafael Manzanares was one of the pioneers in highlighting folklore, culture and national history of Honduras as the creator of the National Folklore Office and the Cuadro Nacional de Danzas Folklóricas de Honduras.[a][1]

Childhood and education[edit]

Rafael Manzanares was born on July 17, 1918, in La Esperanza, Intibucá, the son of Mr. Santiago Manzanares and Mrs. Maria de los Angeles Aguilar. He spent his early life in La Esperanza and graduated from the Escuela Normal de Occidente in La Esperanza with a degree in primary education. He then moved to Tegucigalpa to continue his studies at the Central University, from which he obtained a degree in law at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras.[2][3][4]


Rafael Manzanares began his professional career in the 1940s as a teacher and marimba player with the Orquesta Tropical de Antonio Medina (Antonio Medina's Tropical Orchestra). Rafael Manzanares was initially appointed as secretary of the board of the Central District. He subsequently became director general of Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Honduras. In this position, Manzanares Aguilar studied music and committed himself to investigate the origins of Honduran music and dance. His investigations took him to numerous regions of Honduras, visiting Honduran communities to study and record traditional music, dance, and customs in the towns and villages of Honduras. This work earned him recognition from the government and provided inspiration for founding the institutions that are today paramount in Honduran folklore.[5]

Rafael Manzanares founded and was the first director of the National Office of Folklore under the Ministry of Public Education. In this capacity he is credited with founding the national dance company, El Cuadro Nacional de Danzas Folklóricas de Honduras on November 1, 1956. He was the first director and choreographer of the new dance company.[2][3] This was the first artistic group dedicated to the folklore and traditions of Honduras. The group from then until now works to rescue, preserve, disseminate and promote Honduran folk dance.[6][7] At present El Cuadro Nacional de Danzas Folklóricas de Honduras is composed of about 11 employees in the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Sport (SCAD), and from them its influence spreads over 500 groups in different regions with more than 1,000 instructors nationwide who work to preserve the cultural roots of Honduras. This initiative now includes 50 schools in the capital and more than 700 in the entire country.[1]

Rafael Manzanares is remembered in Honduras as a composer. He is the author of the lyrics and music of themes such as Conozca Honduras, which describes the country and its people, Ciudad de San Pedro Sula, Ciudad de La Esperanza, Ojojona, Danlí, among others.[8] Many of his romantic titles have been recorded and disseminated throughout Central America.[5]

Rafael Manzanares is particularly noted for investigating folk dances in the communities in which they originated and recording the dress, music and choreography. A typical folk dance with a jocular character is El Zopilote,[9] inspired by flying and walking characteristics of the buzzard, commonly seen in Honduras. This dance was compiled by Professor Manzanares in the city of Yuscarán, department of El Paraiso, and it was choreographed and initially interpreted by the Cuadro Nacional de Danzas Folklóricas.[10]

In 1997 Rafael Manzanares was the Liberal Party mayoral candidate for Tegucigalpa, in an election that he lost to the National Party Candidate, Doctor Cesar Castellanos Madrid. In 1998, during the presidential administration of Carlos Roberto Flores, he was appointed minister of the Secretary of State for Culture, Arts and Sports.[4] Rafael Manzanares was also a commentator for HRN radio.[11]

Published works[edit]

  • "Conozca a Honduras" (Instructional songbook authored and composed by Rafael Manzanares)
  • "Por las sendas del folklore"[12]
  • "Fulgores de Nacionalidad"[13]
  • "Desarrollo de la música en Honduras"
  • "El Folclore Hondureño" (Published by the Organization of American States O.A.E.)
  • "El folklore en Honduras: Concepto"[14]

Collected dances[edit]

Rafael Manzanares in his ethnographic field work documented many different traditional dances from villages and towns of Honduras. Included among these are the following dances archived by the National Office of Folklore of Honduras (Oficina del Folklore Nacional de Honduras):[15]

Dance Category Region Sample
El Barreño Creole Lodo Colorado, Santa Rosa de Copán, Copán * Arte UNAH
Los Caballitos Creole Imitation Yoro, Yoro * Ballet Folklórico de Honduras Oro Lenca
La Cadena Indigenous Olanchito, Yoro * El IJAP en Ia Villa Olimpica
* Las Lajas (2012)
El Callado Colonial San Francisco, San Marcos de Colon, Choluteca * Grupo Folklórico Gualala, Encuentro Folklórico Zope Rey
La Correa Creole Cacaurtare, municipio de Pespire, Choluteca * Azacualpa Danza La Correa
* Instituto San José, Progresso
La Coyota Creole Imitation La Esperanza, Intibucá
Las Escobas Indigenous Santa María, La Paz * Ballet Folklorico Sampedrano Sectur
* Grupo Folklórico Lentercala
El Guapango Chorotega Creole Linaca, Choluteca * Ballet Folklórico de Honduras Oro Lenca (2017)
* Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán (2014)
El Jarabe Yoreño Colonial Victoria, Yoro * Leon Alvarado (2012)
El Jutiquile Creole Jutikile, Olancho, Olancho * Danzas Folkloricas ARTE-UNAH
Mazurka Colonial Tegucigalpa * Instituto Católico San Jose de El Progreso, Yoro
* Instituto Técnico Federico C. Canales
El Pereke Colonial Santa Teresa, El Triunfo, Choluteca * Grupo Jade
* IJAP Egresados (2014)
El Revuelto Creole Linaca, Choluteca * Grupo Folklorico Azacualpa
Sos un Ángel Indigenous Olanchito, Yoro * Sos un Ángel
* Centro Escolar Alberto Masferrer
El Sueñito Indigenous Cacautare, Pespire, Choluteca * Ballet Folklórico de Honduras Oro Lenca (2014)
* Grupo de Proyeccioón Folklórica Zorzales de Sula con Marimba Usula Internacional
El Torito Pinto Creole Imitation La Esperanza, Intibucá; Alianza, Valle * UNAH
La Tusa Indigenous Cantarranas (now San Juan de Flores), Francisco Morazán * El Grande de Grandes (2015)
El Xixique Indigenous Cacautare, Municipio de Pespire, Choluteca * El Instituto Doctora Jesus Aquilar Paz (2016)
El Zapateado (Dance of the Machetes) Creole San Martín, Choluteca * Festival Regional Zona Norte
* Competencia Nacional
* Inst. Perla del Ulúa, Progresso
El Zopilote Creole Imitation Yuscarán, El Paraíso. * instituto Leon Alvarado de Comayagua (2010)
* El Zopilote

Awards and recognition[edit]

The following are some of the many awards and recognitions bestowed on Rafael Manzanares Aguilar.[6]

  • Pablo Zelaya Sierra National Art Award for 1970
  • Diploma of Recognition from the Honduran section of the Pan American Round Table, Rafael Aguilar Manzanares as the 1964 Folklorist of the Year on July 20, 1964
  • Diploma of Honorable Merit awarded by the International Spring Fair committee, in Guatemala on September 10, 1959
  • Diploma of Honorable Merit awarded by the Folklore Society of Guatemala on September 1962
  • Diploma and key to the city awarded by the Mayor of New Orleans, declaring Rafael Manzanares, Honorary Citizen of the City of New Orleans on October 12, 1973.*
  • Invitational in his honor by the United States Department of State
  • Posthumous (July 23, 2013) declaration of La Esperanza as the National Capital of Honduran Folklore and designation of the last Saturday of July [b] for the national dance festival El Grande de Grandes in honor of Rafael Manzanares[2][6][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cuadro Nacional de Danza Folklóricas de Honduras roughly translates to National Team of Folkloric Dances of Honduras.
  2. ^ The national dance festival El Grande de Grandes was designated to occur on the last Saturday of July. It now occurs on the last Saturday in October to accommodate other festivals that occur earlier in the calendar as well as the performance and practice schedules of the participant and host dance groups.


  1. ^ a b Ucles, Olman (July 4, 2014). "El folclore recorre sus venas catrachas" [The Folklore runs through the veins of Honduras]. El Heraldo. Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Publicaciones y Noticias S.A. (PUBLYNSA.). Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  2. ^ a b c Carlos Rodriguez (August 15, 2013). "Tributo al folklorista Rafael Manzanares" [Tribute to folklorist Rafael Manzanares] (in Spanish). p. 15. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  3. ^ a b Rolando Zelaya y Ferrera. "Historias de Honduras: Rafael Manzanares Aguilar" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  4. ^ a b "Biografía Compositores Hondureños: Rafael Manzanares Aguilar" [Biography of Honduran Composers: Rafael Manzanares Aguilar] (in Spanish). Club Ensayos. June 7, 2015. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  5. ^ a b Simonette, Helena; Marcuzzi, Michael (25 July 2016). "One Hundred Years of Latin American Music Scholarship: An Overview". In Leon, Javier F; Simonett, Helena (eds.). A Latin American Music Reader: Views from the South. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press (published July 15, 2016). ISBN 978-0252081675.
  6. ^ a b c Gonzalez, Johonny (2013). "Festival Folclorico Grande de Grandes 2013: La Cultura y El Arte en Honduras Sigue Viva!" [Folklore Festival Grande de Grandes 2013: The Culture and Art of Honduras Still Lives!]. Asociacion de Periodistas Deportivos de Honduras (APDH) (in Spanish). Tegucigalpa, Honduras: APDH Medios. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Asociación Nacional de Instructores e Investigadores de Danzas Folclóricas" [National Association of Folklore Dance Instructors and Researchers] (in Spanish). Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Cancianero Folclorico" [Folklore Songs] (in Spanish). Proyección Folklore Hondureño. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  9. ^ Daniel Sanz (2003). Danza El Zopilote [The Buzzard (folk dance)] (Video). Instituto Leon Alvarado de Comayagua. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  10. ^ Muñoz Tábora, Jesús (2007). Folklore y Educación: Honduras (in Spanish) (6th ed.). Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Guaymuras Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-99926-33-65-6.
  11. ^ Mario Hernán Ramírez (April 28, 2015). "65 Aniversario de la "W" de Honduras". La Tribuna (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  12. ^ Manzanares Aguilar, Rafael (2008) [1960]. Por las Sendas del Folklore [On the Paths of Folklore] (in Spanish). Tegucigalpa, D.C., Honduras, C.A: Carmen Villatoro Manzanares. ISBN 978-99926-44-10-2.
  13. ^ Manzanares Aguilar, Rafael (1958). Fulgores de Nacionalidad [Glimpses of Nationality] (in Spanish). Tegucigalpa, D.C., Honduras, C.A: Dirección del Folklore Nacional.
  14. ^ Manzanares Aguilar, Rafael (1974). El folklore en Honduras: Concepto [The Folklore of Honduras: Concept] (in Spanish). Tegucigalpa, D.C., Honduras, C.A: Editorial Ministerio de Educación Pública.
  15. ^ "Folk Dances of Honduras". Ballet Folklórico de Honduras Oro Lenca. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  16. ^ "Homenaje Lic. Rafael Manzanares Aguilar" [Homage to Rafael Manzanares Aguilar]. Municipalidad de La Esperanza, Intibucá. Retrieved 2016-05-02.