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

Chay calle
(Tradicional. En “Niño travieso”, Alejandro Cámara y el grupo Sayubú, 1998).


“Chay calle” (This street) is a traditional huayno sung in Quechua language which describes the odyssey of a drunk in a canteen. The version included below is performed by Alejandro Cámara, eminent Bolivian charango player and current leader of the band Grupo Semilla. The following video features the latter, though Cámara first recorded this song with the band Grupo Sayubú.

Chay chiqan callepi / un sillanisqapi / tomarisarqani. / Mana riqsispalla / uj cholita / enamorakuwan. / Creerichiqti / anillitunta / jaywaykapuwan. / “Casarakusunchiq, / papito” nispa / much’aykakapuwan.
Aqha tomachispa / ripusunchiq nispa / machaykuchiwasqa (chirqani). / Machaykuchiytawan / qullqiyta urqhuspa / chinkarikapusqa. / Riqcharinaypaq / mana qullqiyuq, / wayra bolsillo, / pachan kantinapi / aqha ch’akimanta wañuspa.

In this (straight) street / on a “seat” / I was drinking (just a little bit). / Not knowing me (not having seen me before) / a young woman / fell in love with me. / After making me believe her love was true / her little ring / she gave me. / “I’ll marry you, / honey-bunch” she told me / (and next) stole a kiss from me.
Insisting on me drinking chicha, / and telling me “We’ll leave” / she got me to get drunk. / Once she made me drunk / took my money (out of my pocket) / and made it disappear, as easily as that. / And I awoke / without money, / empty pocket, / in the same canteen as ever / dying of chicha hangover.

NOTE: The differences in Quechua pronunciation between men and women in the video are remarkable, what can be due to either ignorance of the language or geographical influences. The latter being the cause for the different dialects or varieties of Quechua.

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