By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Among the various styles of cueca that can be found in Chile, the so-called “cueca nortina” (northern cueca) is the “Andean” one par excellence, played in the area known as “Norte Grande” (Chilean Big/Far North, which comprises Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá, and Antofagasta regions).
Generally speaking, it is a slower variant of the “classic” Chilean cueca that is traditionally played in the central part of the country. It is usually performed at Carnival and for the feast of patron saint or any other religious celebration, by different instrumental ensembles, each one stamping their own sound on the music. Brass bands are usually played in religious contexts, while famous “cuecas en lakitas” are traditionally played by tropas (tuned consorts) of panpipes (known as “lakitas” in the Chilean Big/Far North) accompanied by huge wank’ara drums. Finally, local ensembles of guitar, charango, bombo and quenas (notched flutes) also include northern cuecas in their repertoire, easily recognized by the distinctive and fast pace of the charango’s strumming.
Picture 01. Cueca nortina.
Song. “A mis paisanos” (cueca nortina), by Illapu.
Video 01. Cueca nortina.
Video 02. Cueca nortina (“A mis paisanos”) on the charango, by David Arancibia.
Video 03. Cueca nortina to the accompaniment of brass band in La Huayca.
Video 04. Cueca nortina to the accompaniment of brass band.