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

Valicha
(Miguel Ángel Hurtado Delgado)

“Valicha” is the Quechua diminutive of names like “Valentina” or “Valeriana”, as well as the title of a popular huayno from the region of Cusco (Peru) written in 1942 as the result of a love story between the composer and a Quechua young woman who is still alive: Valeriana Huillca Condori. At present she is a blind 90 year old woman who lives in abject poverty in her place of birth, Acopía (Acomayo district, department of Cusco).
The story has several versions, the best known of which tells that Valicha was a beautiful young woman who worked for the Hurtado family in Acopía and young Miguel Ángel fell in love (or became infatuated) with her. They had a fling during one of his holidays and Valicha’s family sent her to work in Cusco to take her away from him (or otherwise, she run off to the city with a peasant whose surname was Hancco). Spiteful as he felt, Hurtado went on to write new lyrics for the song “Tusuy”, which he had previously composed for his beloved Valeriana. The new version of the song was renamed “Valicha” and told a completely different story.
This account of the facts is supported by the huayno’s lyrics itself, which many people sing in its original Quechua version, probably not knowing its meaning. It is said that when the song was first performed in Acopía, the main character, Valeriana, blushed with embarrassment and run to hide from her neighbours.
In general terms, “Valicha” was written in defiance of a woman and the lyrics make it clear what the composer wanted for her “love” (literally he calls her “lisa pasña”, an expression used to mean “woman of the streets”) when she arrived in Cusco: to seduce young lads (the word “maqt’a” refers to boys from 9 to 14 years of age); to grind maize in a chichería (a place where the chicha, a fermented beverage derived from maize, is sold, and where she was supposed to work almost as a slave); and to “steal hearts” or “laugh with a soldier” at the guard post (another veiled reference to prostitution). Regretfully, these were the fates awaiting for the young native women living in rural areas when they arrived in big cities such as Cusco, Arequipa or Lima.
“Valicha” has been played by a lot of groups, both Peruvian and from abroad, and in many different styles. The lyrics, written in the form of Quechua used in the region of Cusco (and, as usually, wrongly transcribed), has several versions, though the sense remains almost the same. The best known is the following:

Valicha lisa pasñari,
niñachay de veras, maypiñas tupanki?
Qusqu uraykunapi
niñachay de veras maqt’ata suwachkan.

[So, Valicha, “woman of the streets”,
my true little girl, where are you now?
In the bottom of Cusco
my true little girl is stealing young lads].

Qusquman chayaruspari,
niñachay de veras, imatas ruwanqa?
Sapanta aqhawasipi
niñachay de veras sarata kutanqa.

[So, when she arrives in Cusco,
what will my true little girl do?
Alone in a chichería
my true little girl will grind maize].

Chayllataraqchus ruwanman
niñachay de veras, Valicha pasñari,
cuartel punkukunapis,
niñachay de veras, sunquta suwanqa.

[And would my true little girl,
the young Valicha do just this?
At the barracks’ gates
my true little girl will steal hearts].

Chayllataraqchus ruwanman
niñachay de veras, Valicha pasñari,
puesto punkukunapis,
niñachay de veras, guardiawan sinsichkan.

[And would my true little girl,
the young Valicha do just this?
At the guard post,
my true little girl is laughing with the soldier on guard duty].

Article 01. “Valicha, cuando el amor se hizo música” (Valicha, when love became music) [es].
Article 02. “Valicha. ¿Dónde estás, mi niña bonita?” (Valicha. Where are you my pretty girl?) [es].
Article 03. “Miguel Ángel Hurtado y Valicha” (Miguel Ángel Hurtado and Valicha) [es].
Article 04. “La musa de Valicha está olvidada y en la pobreza” (Valicha’s muse disappeared into oblivion and lives in poverty) [es].
Article 05. One version of the lyrics of “Valicha”.

Song 01. “Valicha”, by William Luna.
Song 02. “Valicha”, by Illapas.
Song 03. “Valicha”, by Savia Andina.
Song 04. “Valicha”, by Los Inkas del Perú.
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