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Composer perfomer Andean music
Land of winds > Performers > Composers and performers | Issue 05. May.-Jun.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Manuelcha Prado

Manuelcha Prado
Manuel Prado Alarcón, better known by his artistic name Manuelcha Prado, was born in 1955 in the village of Puquio (province of Lucanas, Ayacucho department). Composer, guitarist and troubadour, Manuelcha is also known as “the saqra of the guitar” (the Quechua term saqra means, among other things, “warlock”). He started his musical career at the age of twelve, under the leadership of rural musicians native to his birthplace.
In the 70s Manuelcha moved to Lima, where he participated in different groups (including one of tropical music). After a while he decided to launch his solo career collecting the native music of Puquio, a village described with much poetry by the Peruvian writer José María Arguedas.
Among the sounds that he gathers together there is the wasichakuy (music for building the roof), the wawa pampay (music for a child’s funeral), the alba, the atipanakuy (music for competition), the wallpa waccay, different “tonos” of the “Danza de las tijeras” (literally, scissors dance), the ayla (music for a youth dance during the Fiesta del Agua, Water Festival), the torovelay (music for the Soras cattle-branding festival, province of Lucanas) and many others.
His musical arrangements and instrument variation (originally these styles were played on harp and violin, and he has made it possible for them to be played on the solo guitar) are at the forefront of the revival of folkloric music in Peru. On the other hand, in his search for sounds Manuelcha uses different tunings or “temples” that he has named “comuncha”, “diablo”, “arpa”, “conchucano”, “sanchecerro” and “morochuco”.
His first album, “Guitarra indígena” was released in 1981. The following year he went on his first international tour, and in 1985 launched “Testimonio ayacuchano”. Two years later “Galopando al sur” came to light and in 1990, along with Raúl García Zárate and Javier Echecopar, Manuelcha published the book “Música para guitarra del Perú” that was used as a textbook in music schools all over the country.
In 1991, Manuelcha celebrated his 25-year career with the release of the homonymous album. In 1996 appeared “Romance de guitarrero” live album, with Carlos Falconi. And two years late he launched “Cavilando”, accompanied by the group “Proyecto Kavilando”. Lastly, in 1999 he recorded “Kukulinay” and the following year “Saqra”.
Manuelcha Prado is a musician connected with his Andean roots who has spread the musical repertoire of the Central Peruvian Sierra. His manual dexterity on the guitar is beyond any doubt, as it is the thoroughness of his work recovering and promoting the music of the “deep Peru”.

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Official website: Not available
Interview to Manuelcha Prado, in Agencia Peruana de Noticias [es].
Manuelcha Prado’s short biography, in Zona Folk [es].
News on Manuelcha Prado, in Raices Milenarias [es].
Interview to Manuelcha Prado, in Revista Riqchari [es].
Link CD “Romance de guitarrero” [Musicapopularandinaperuana.blogspot.com]

Video 01. “Huérfano Pajarillo / Adiós, pueblo de Ayacucho” (live).
Video 02. “Huaylas ancestral” (live).
Video 03. “Saksaywamanpi” (live).
Video 04. “Trilce”.
Video 05. “Ingrata tortolita” (live).
Video 06. “Tradicional de Puquio”.
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