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Land of winds > Rhythms and styles > Rhythm | Issue 03. Jan.-Feb.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

The albazo

As its Spanish name suggests, the albazo (derived from “alba”, daybreak) is a rhythm performed at dawn by brass bands, in both native and mestizo villages and towns across Ecuador. Originally it was used to wake up those who had been married the day before, as it was already stated by Jiménez de la Espada in 1881. However, as time went by, its use turned to sound reveille in the morning at religious or community festivals, either during the Palm Sunday in Licán (Chimborazo province), during the Feast of Saint Peter’s Day in Cayambe and Pomasqui (Pichincha province), or at the community celebrations in Tisaleo (Tungurahua province).
The albazo is played in 6/8 time, in minor keys and in a brisk and lively tempo. Some authors are of the opinion that the capishca from Cuenca, the sanjuanito, and even the bomba of the Chota could possibly derive from the albazo, with faster and more marked rhythms.
Famous albazos are “Dolencias”, “Si tú me olvidas”, “Negra del alma”, “Desdichas”, “Avecilla”, “Pajarillo”, “Taita Salasaca”, “Triste me voy” and “Se va mi vida”. Besides the tonada, the pasillo, and the pasacalle, the albazo is one of the most popular rhythms among the mestizo population of Ecuador.

Albazo, in Wikipedia [es].
Albazo, in “Los ritmos del Ecuador”, by Ballet Andino Ecuador [es].
Albazo, in Ballet Folklórico del Ecuador [es].
Ecuadorian rhythms, including an example of albazo [es].
Ecuadorian rhythms, including the albazo in the blog “Música ecuatoriana” [es].

Song 01. Albazo “Dolencias”, by Inti-Illimani.
Song 02. Albazo “Taita Salasaca”, by Inti-Illimani.
Song 03. Albazo “Avecilla”, by Los Huayanay.

Video 01. Guitar version of the albazo “Dolencias”.
Video 02. Albazo “Pajarillo”, by duet Benítez-Valencia.
Video 03. Albazo “Apostemos que me caso”, by Carlota Jaramillo.
Video 04. Albazo “Arrurrú La Faena”, by Illapu.
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