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Lyrics song Andean music
Land of winds > Music > Lyrics
| Issue 02. Sep.-Oct.2010
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Agüita de Phutiña
(Traditional - Bolivia)

“Agüita de Phutiña” is a traditional Bolivian leitmotif that has been included in many well and lesser-known bands’ repertoires. Even though the melody –easily recognizable– has been performed in a very similar way by most of them, the title and the lyrics can be slightly different depending on the group.
The title includes the Aymara word “phutiña”, which means “to place food over boiling water so that it cooks in the steam”. According to some sources, it might also describe thermal springs, some of which are located in the Collao plateau (Bolivian-Peruvian altiplano). In fact, it is widely accepted that the song refers to salt Lake Putiña or Putina hot waters, in Charazani (La Paz, Bolivia). Opinions stating that the song has its origins in Peru instead of being Bolivian and that it should be connected to San Antonio de Putina (Puno) thermal waters are now largely discredited by what the lyrics itself mentions.
Throughout the history of Andean music, this title has been written in all possible ways by its different performers: Putiña (Los Jairas), Putina (Jaime Torres, Markasata, Eddy Lima), Puthina (Los Incas), Phutina (Grupo Aymara) and Phutiña (Savia Andina). Since the spelling is not even maintained at a geographical level (the name of Charazani thermal waters is spelled either Putina or Putiña), it is perfectly understandable that there are many doubts about this matter.
As regards the lyrics, the most complete version (and the earliest) seems to be the one included by Los Jairas in their 1974 album “Lo mejor de Los Jairas” (see).

Sweet tasty water from Putiña, my little dove,
knowing whom I am here for, ah, ah, ah, ah,
you should not expect me to go, my little dove

The further I get from you, my dear,
the closer her figure appears, my little dove.

Little woman from Charazani, beautiful flower,
never will I forget you, my little dove.

Sweet tasty water from Putiña, my little dove,
only you know about my suffering, ah, ah, ah, ah,
caused by an impossible love, my little dove.

Her father, her mother won’t approve
of my loving her so soon, my little dove.

Little woman from Charazani, beautiful flower,
never will I forget you, my little dove.

The Bolivian origins of the song would be backed up by the reference to Charazani. Such origins are also borne out by the many times this song has been instrumentally performed in k’antu style, a variant of sikuri that comes originally from the region of Charazani. Some examples of those performances can be found in “Mystic Andes of Bolivia” by Eddy Lima, “Música de los Andes” by Zartam and the great version covered by Markasata in their album “Sicureada”.
The most common and widely spread versions of its lyrics seem to be simplified excerpts from what probably was the original one. Both “Poco a poco” by Los Uros del Titicaca, and “Wistan pitalanaka” by Kirkincho feauture one of those versions:

Sweet tasty water, sweet tasty water from Putina, little dove,
You should not expect me to go, ah, ah, ah, ah,
knowing that I love you, little dove.

Your father, your mother, now don’t want
me to keep on loving you, little dove.

Oh dear!, my little dove, pretty flower,
I hope to keep on loving you, little dove.

Los Huaycheños, for their part, in “Éxitos de oro”, present a slightly different version:

Sweet tasty water, sweet tasty water from Putina, little dove,
You should not expect me to go, ah, ah, ah, ah,
knowing that I belong to someone else, little dove.

Your father, your mother, now don’t want
me to marry you, little dove.

Little woman from Charazani, pretty flower,
I hope to marry you, little dove.

With regard to the melody, different bands and soloists have, from their own perspective, dealt with “Agüita de Phutiña” in different ways. A few remarkable instrumental versions can be heard in “Alegría” by Los Incas, whose cover has an ancient sikuri touch; “Llacta runa” by Jaime Torres, who turned it into a sikureada from Argentinian altiplano; and “Classics” by Savia Andina, perhaps the best cover version, combining a charango solo with groups of flutes and panpipes.

Video Agüita de Putina, Sikuri de Italaque style.
Video Agüita de Putina, by Savia Andina.
Video Agüita de Putina, by Perú Latino.
Video Agüita de Putina, by a tabla-sikus ensemble.
Video Agüita de Putina, by Lisset Paucar (mix of Peruvian chicha style and huanca harp).
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