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Land of winds > Music > History | Issue 05. May.-Jun.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Andean music in Peru

It can be said that the music of the Andes started precisely in Peru since the most ancient aerophones of the Cordillera have been found in this country, just north of Lima in the town of Caral (in the Supe Valley, Barranca province), presumably the oldest urban complex in the New World and one of the best studied sites of the Caral-Supe civilization (3200-1600 B.C.). These early instruments would be followed by the ones created by different cultures such as Chavín, Moche (or Mochica), Paracas, Nazca, Tiahuanaco, Wari (or Huari), Lambayeque, Chimú and Chincha (for more information on this historical period see issue 02 of “Land of Winds”). During the Inca Empire (Quechua: Tawantinsuyu, which can be translated as The Four Regions or The Four United Provinces, 1438-1533) former political structures were reorganize; the official language of the empire was Quechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects of Quechua were spoken; and though the Inca leadership imposed Inti’s sovereignty above other cults, the existing ethnic groups and cultural diversity were more or less “accommodated” within the Tawantinsuyu. Afterwards, the music of the European conquerors, as well as the sounds of the African slaves brought to Peru during the Colony, interlaced with the threads of this colourful tapestry.

Music of Peru, in Wikipedia.
Peruvian dances, in Wikipedia.
Intangible Heritage of Perú, in Wikipedia [es].
Video 01. Musical instruments of pre-Columbian Peru.

At present, the Andean music of Peru is a collection of rhythms, styles and sounds that vary from region to region, what somehow reflects the distribution of those ancient pre-Columbian cultures.
The south of the country, the region of the Altiplano surrounding the Titicaca Lake, is home to the puneña music or music of the Collao, strongly influenced by the Aymara culture. It includes spectacular dances such as the diablada, the morenada, the kullahuada, the waka waka, the sicuri, the ayarachi, the doctorcitos, the caporales and the marinera and pandilla puneña (typically accompanied by brass bands), as well as the carnaval de Arapa, the pinkillada, the chacallada, the tarkeada, the luriguayos or mohoseñada, the chulla and the kajelo (accompanied by local troops of flute players). The instruments commonly used in this region are different types of panpipes, tarkas (Andean fipple flutes), quenas (Andean notched flutes) and pinkillos (Andean fipple flutes), as well as many different percussion instruments and the charango, which is not present in other traditional contexts of the central and northern parts of the country.
This is one of the regions where ancient aerophones have a strong presence. In the rest of Peru, apart from the brass bands and the testimonial appearance of quenas, antaras (panflutes), harmonies and “pinkullos”, the aerophones do not play a central role and their place is taken by the string instruments.

Music of Puno [es].
Diablada puneña, in Wikipedia.
Morenada, in Wikipedia.
Kullahuada, in Wikipedia.
Sicuri (dance), in Wikipedia [es].
Ayarachi (dance), en Wikipedia [es].
Caporales, in Wikipedia.
Marinera and pandilla puneña (dance), in Wikipedia [es].
Video 02. Diablada puneña.
Video 03. Morenada puneña.
Video 04. Pandilla puneña.
Video 05. Carnaval de Arapa.
Video 06. Chacallada puneña.

The central part of the Peruvian Sierra houses the chanka music (spread through the Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Apurímac departments) and the cusqueña music (Cusco department). Their repertoires consist of huaynos, huaynitos and marineras mostly played with laminated charangos, harps, guitars, violins and, on a casual basis, harmonies (“rondines”) and accordions. As everywhere in the Andes, in this region there is also a strong presence of brass bands, especially accompanying religious festivities and popular celebrations.
Besides these well known elements, this area is the redoubt of other cultural expressions of deep interest. One of these is the tradition of the danzaq, performers of the famous “Danza de las tijeras” (literally, scissors dance). There are also a couple of examples in the region of Cusco, where ancient traditions retreat slowly as time passes: the first one are the “orquestines” (small bands featuring a harp, a violin, a mandolin, two quenas and drums) and the second is the use of the so called “pampapiano”, a small pedal organ originally intended as part of the religious service.

Música cusqueña, in Wikipedia [es].
Ayacucho music [es].
Video 07. Huayno cusqueño.
Video 08. Huaynos ayacuchanos 01.
Video 09. Huaynos ayacuchanos 02.
Danza de las tijeras (literally, Scissors dance), in Wikipedia.
Danza de las tijeras.
Video 10. Danza de las tijeras 01.
Video 11. Danza de las tijeras 02.
Video 12. Danza de las tijeras 03 (baja calidad).
Video 13. Danza de las tijeras 04.
Orquestín cusqueño (small band of the region of Cusco), in Cusco vivo.
Video 14. Orquestín cusqueño.
Video 15. Pampapiano 01.
Video 16. Pampapiano 02 (low quality).
Video 17. Pampapiano 03 (low quality).

Between the altiplano (higplateau) and the Central Sierra is located the region of the arequipeña music (of Arequipa department), characterized by the repertoire performed by the so called “montoneros” (local rural people), which is mostly based on huaynos and marineras and has its exponents in a few groups such as Los Dávalos, the Yanahuara Trio, and Los Errantes.
In the Junín department (especially in the valley of River Mantaro) we find the huanca music. This region is the cradle of such particular and unique rhythms as the famous huaylarsh (or huaylash), the mulizas, the chonguinada, the tunantada, the santiagos and the “danza de negritos” (black people dance).

Waylarsh (dance), in Wikipedia [es].
Muliza (musical genre), in Wikipedia [es].
Chonguinada (dance), in Wikipedia [es].
Tunantada (dance), in Wikipedia [es].
Video 18. Huaylarsh 01.
Video 19. Huaylarsh 02.
Video 20. Muliza 01.
Video 21. Muliza 02.
Video 22. Chonguinada 01.
Video 23. Chonguinada 02.

North to the country, in the Ancash department, the ancashina music turns up, found in the area of the Callejón de Huaylash. It consists of over twenty traditional dances such as the shaqapas (or shacshas), chimaychis, pallas, pasacalles, huanquillas, quiyayas and yuriguas, as well as rhythms like the huayno ancashino or “chuscada”.

Huayno ancashino, in Wikipedia [es].
Shaqapas (dance), en Wikipedia [es].
Folkloric dances of Ancash.
Video 24. Chuscada ancashina 01.
Video 25. Chuscada ancashina 02.
Video 26. Chuscada ancashina 03.
Video 27. Chuscada ancashina 04.

And it is in this very same place (Ancash department, Corongo and Huaraz provinces) where the unique musical expression known as the roncadoras takes refuge. We are talking about duets and trios of musicians simultaneously playing a three holes pinkullo (pinkillo) and a huge “caja” or drum with strands of snares made of guitar strings.

The roncadoras of Ñahuín (musical instrument) [es].
Video 28. Roncadoras of Caraz.
Video 29. Roncadoras of Carian.
Video 30. Roncadoras of Churap.

Around 1930 an incessant academic musical activity thrived in Peru, which would drive authors like Daniel Alomía Robles and Jorge Bravo de Rueda to compose the famous zarzuela (traditional operetta) titled “El cóndor pasa” (including the song of the same name) and the well known “Vírgenes del Sol” respectively. Both themes are representative of the present day Andean folklore of Peru as well as being Cultural Patrimony of the Nation since 2004.

Daniel Alomía Robles, in Wikipedia.
El cóndor pasa (song), in Wikipedia.
Jorge Bravo de Rueda, in Wikipedia.
Vírgenes del Sol (song), in Wikipedia [es].

During the ‘40s and ‘60s, with the appearance of a good number of soloists and group,s the musical traditions of the places where they were born spread throughout the country. This was the case of Miguel Ángel Silva Rubio (“the Indio Mayta”), who alongside his band Los Wiracochas popularized the music of the region of Cajamarca; Jacinto Palacios Zaragoza (“the Trovador Ancashino”), Angélica Harada Vásquez (“the Princesita de Yungay”) and Ernesto Sánchez Fajardo (“Jilguero del Huascarán”) did the same with the folklore of Ancash; Leonor Chávez Roja (“Flor Pucarina”) and Víctor Gil Mallma (“Picaflor de los Andes”) propelled the huanca repertoire; the Conjunto Condemayta de Acomayo spread the music of the region of Cusco; and María Alvarado Trujillo (“Pastorita Huaracina”) made popular all the Andean singing in general.

Indio Mayta (musician), in Wikipedia [es].
Jacinto Palacios Zaragoza (musician), in Wikipedia [es].
Angélica Harada Vásquez (singer), in Wikipedia [es].
El Jilguero del Huascarán (singer), in Wikipedia [es].
Flor Pucarina (singer), in Wikipedia [es].
Picaflor de los Andes, in Wikipedia.
Pastorita Huaracina, in Wikipedia.

During the ‘70s the wave of the Nueva Canción Latinoamericana (Latin American New Song) inspired the music of Peruvian groups such as Alturas, Vientos del Pueblo, Tiempo Nuevo, Puka Soncco, Los Uros del Titicaca, Yahuarina, or Raymond Thevenot and los Machu Picchu. Some of them opted for the socially committed music of the Nuevo Canto, while others chose to recover the traditional rural music of their country and promote a certain type of instruments (as it is the case of Thevenot with the quena).

Grupo Alturas (musical group) [es].
Conjunto Musical Vientos del Pueblo (musical group), in Música Popular Andina Peruana [es].
Grupo Musical Tiempo Nuevo (musical group), in Canciones de Protesta Social [es].
Grupo Puka Soncco (musical group), in Mensajero Inka [es].
Raymond Thevenot, in Wikipedia [es].
Video 31. “Nieve en los Andes”, by Grupo Alturas.
Video 32. “El canelazo”, by Puka Soncco.
Video 33. “Ojos azules”, by Los Uros del Titicaca.
Video 34. “Yasminacha”, by Raymond Thevenot.

In the 80s saw the emergence of several bands playing popular huaynos, sometimes accompanied by the keyboard, wind instruments and Latin percussion, and other times by string instruments (guitar, requinto, mandolin): Los Alegres del Perú, Los Bohemios del Cusco, Los Chankas de Apurimac, Los Campesinos, Los Compadres de Huancayo, Los Engreídos de San Mateo, Los Errantes, Los Reales de Cajamarca, Voces de Huamanga Trio... These years also marked the beginning of a number of groups that continue being an icon of Peruvian folklore nowadays, such as Wayanay and Yawar. In addition the works by artists such as Edwin Montoya (soloist), Jaime Guardia (charango player), Luciano Quispe (harpist) and Martina Portocarrero, and groups like Inkari, Mitimaes and Peru Inka managed to reach wider audiences. Around the middle of this decade, some groups decided to migrate to Europe, and a few ones like Alpamayo and Takillakta, were capable of attaining great success in their careers abroad.

Video 35. “La Nueva Alianza”, by Los Chankas de Apurímac.
Video 36. “Wasimasillay”, by Los Bohemios del Cusco.
Video 37 (baja calidad). “Huaylash”, by Los Alegres del Perú.
Video 38. “Mis lamentos”, by Los Engreídos de San Mateo.
Video 39. “Me lleva el destino”, by Los Reales de Cajamarca.
Video 40. “Negra del alma”, by Edwin Montoya.
Video 41. “Munaspaqa Suyaykuway”, by Jaime Guardia.
Video 42. “Toril”, by Luciano Quispe.
Video 43 (baja calidad). “Flor de retama”, by Martina Portocarrero.
Video 44. “Huauk’ey”, by Grupo Mitimaes.

In the ‘90s the “romantic Andean music” developed in every corner the Andes, boosted by bands like Los Kjarkas in Bolivia. In Peru, examples of this musical genre were Wayanay Inka and William Luna among others. Musicians’ migration to Europe continued in these years and the number of Peruvian groups achieving success out of their borders increased: Illareq, K’jaypu, Illary Perú, Karumanta, Inca Son, Inka Kenas... These groups tailored their repertoire to suit international audiences, while some of those who remained in their homeland decided to meld new instruments and styles with the traditional Andean repertoire, thus, modernizing the latter. This fresh impetus stems from groups such as Kishuar, Kotosh, Kuelap, the Ayacucho Trio and Yawar Inka, and performers like Florencio Coronado (harpist), Manuelcha Prado (guitarist), Raúl García Zárate (guitarist), Margot Palomino (singer) and Sila Illanes (singer).

Video 45. “De lo profundo”, by Arpay.
Video 46. “Corazón de piedra”, by Kishuar.
Video 47. “Wambritay”, by Kotosh.
Video 48. “Desde el corazón de nuestro pueblo”, by Kuelap.
Video 49. “Huérfano pajarillo”, by Trío Ayacucho.
Video 50. “Sikuri”, by Yawar Inka.
Video 51. “Valicha”, by Florencio Coronado.
Video 52. “Adiós, pueblo de Ayacucho”, by Raúl García Zárate.
Video 53. “Trilce”, by Margot Palomino.
Video 54. “Quiero ser libre”, by Sila Illanes.

The turn of the new millennium gave a new boost to fusion music through groups such as Alborada, Supay and Quillapas or soloists like Dámaris Mallma. Traditional music follows its own path under the leadership of excellent performers like Ángel Bedrillana, while the romantic huayno is developed by Los Chopkjas and Diosdado Gaitán Castro. In recent times, the popular huayno (strongly influenced by cumbia and tropical music) has made it possible the appearance of characters such as Dina Páucar, La muñequita Sally and La pequeña Wendy, and social media phenomena like the group Las Chicas del Sol.

Video 54. “En el viento”, by Supay.
Video 55. “Pobre corazón”, by Quillapas.
Video 56. “Bella mestiza”, by Ángel Bedrillana.
Video 57. “Qué lindo son tus ojos”, by Dina Páucar.
Video 58. “Él sólo es un amigo”, by La muñequita Sally.
Video 59. “Cerveza, cerveza”, by La pequeña Wendy Sulca.
Video 60. “Cumbias peruanas”, by Las Chicas del Sol.

The huayno and other dances [es].
Popular Andean Peruvian music [es].
Music from Corongo province [es].
Rincón del Huayno [es].
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