Bolivian Quechua music
Most of the Andean folk groups and soloists have included traditional songs of the Quechua communities of Bolivia in their musical repertoire, especially huaynos, tonadas potosinas and tinkus. This is the case of Proyección, Ernesto Cavour, William Ernesto Centellas, Grupo Coca, Jach’a Mallku, Horizontes, Eddy Navia, K’ala Marka, Rumillajta, Kollahuara, Ruperta Condori, Amaru, Música de Maestros, Paja Brava, Boliviamanta, Luis Rico, Alaxpacha, Llajtaymanta, Carola y los Amautas, Andino, Fortaleza, Khanata, Ayopayamanta, Wiphala, Inti Punchai, Arawi, Bonanza, Llapaku, Los Kjarkas, Aruma, Grupo Andino, Los Laikas, Ruphay, Mauro Núñez, Yara, Savia Andina or Ana Cristina Céspedes and the group Inkallakta. However, the level of fidelity to the original that should be expected varies from each of them. Cover versions range from those absolutely respectful of the ancient tradition to the most avant-garde works.
The following reviews refer to musical works featuring the more orthodox versions of this sound heritage. Readers will find three field recordings that were the result of ethno-musicological research undertaken in the Bolivian Andes. Some of the sounds included in these albums are quite unique, such as those of the whistles jant’arki, the guitarrillas potosinas and the flutes saripalka.
Bolivia: calendario musical de los valles altos | Bolivia: Charangos and guitarrillas from Norte Potosí | Zulma Yugar – Tierra sin mar | Luzmila Carpio – Lo mejor de Luzmila Carpio | Bolivia: Music of the Calcha
Le Chant du Monde
Bolivia: calendario musical de los valles altos
(CNRS – Musée de l’Homme - 1992)
1. Sikuras -2. Chinguerito K’aspichaki – 3. Sikuras wayno – 4. Sikuras wayno – 5. Sikuras tinku – 6. Malawira wayno – 7. Takipayanaku en malawira – 8. Dos waynos de Carnaval – 9. Pinkillo wayno – 10. Pujllay wayno – 11. Erqe de Carnaval – 12. Turumi wayno – 13. Pujllay – 14. Pascua – 15. Cruz wayno – 16. San Juan wayno – 17. Takipayanaku en Toro – 18. Monos – 19. Canto de Ayarichi – 20. Ayarichi wayno
This documentary work was recorded by Bruno Flety and Rosalía Martínez for the French CNRS and the Bolivian ASUR: “Antropólogos del Surandino” (the Foundation for Anthropological Investigation and Ethno development “Anthropologists of the Southern Andes”) between 1990 and 1991. It comprises the different musical expressions that are performed throughout the year by the native communities located near Sucre (department of Chuquisaca).
The ethnic groups studied were the Yamparas or Tarabuqueño people, the Jalq’as, the Machas, the Tinkipayas and the Ch’utas. The different rhythms include those that can be performed at any time of the year (huaynos played on tropas of panpipes sikura and ayarichi, songs malawira by the Jalq’as), those that are only performed during the rainy season and at Carnival (huaynos played on tropas of large pinkillos, on erqes or erquenchos, and on medianas and jatun charangos or “big charangos”), and those performed during the dry season (huaynos and takipayanakus played on the juch’uy charango or “small charango”).
This is a unique sound document that rescues musical expressions little known not only in Bolivia but also in the region of Sucre, thus allowing an approach to techniques and styles that are vanishing at a fast pace.
Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire
Bolivia: Charangos and guitarrillas from Norte Potosí
(VDE Gallo – 1995)
1. Aiwisku – 2. Cruz Ocurí – 3. Cruz Ocurí – 4. Valle campanita – 5. Navidad / Huachi Torito – 6. Runa Wayño – 7. Salaque de Ocurí – 8. Runa Wayño – 9. Llucho Carnaval – 10. Jalq’a Carnaval – 11. Pascua de Antora – 12. Pascua de Ocurí – 13. Tinku – 14. Aiwisku – 15. Valle Mayu – 16. Aiquile Mayito – 17. Kilkinita – 18. Siway Sarita – 19. Wawitay Ama Waq’aychu – 20. Warmillay Wañunman – 21. Kimsa Temple – 22. Tupaj Katari – 23. Olvidarte prefiero
This research work was recorded by the eminent Bolivian charango player Florindo Alvis for the Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire in Switzerland. It includes traditional songs from northern Potosí department played on the charango. The region is regarded as the cradle of this chordophone, since it is there that we can find the widest range of different tunings, types of strings, materials, tones, styles of strumming, chords...
On the album, Alvis collects various types of charango: ordinary (e.g. in “Runa Wayño”), guitarrillas (“Llucho Carnaval”), jatun charango (“Jalq’a Carnaval”), pulu-charango or charango made from gourd with gut strings (“Valle Mayu”), and khonkhota or q’onq’ota (“Tupaj Katari”). To increase the sense of variety, these instruments have different tunings or “temples”: natural, maulín, kimsa, runa, jalq’a, pascua, valle mayu, diablo, falso natural...
Several songs featured on the album have festive meaning (“Wachi torito”, “Salaque de Ocurí”) while others are ceremonial (“Aiwisku”, “Tinku”, “Pascua de Antora”), and some of them are just a pastime (“Kilkinita”, “Wawitay Ama Waq’aychu”). The author himself explains in the introductions that, surprised as he was to find the transformation suffered by the charango music following the changes introduced by the most commercial Andean bands, he decided to record the original songs as played by popular musicians in northern Potosí. The outcome is astonishingly beautiful, a very rich legacy of traditional music.
Tierra sin mar
(Fusion - 1996)
1. K’oli pankarita – 2. Pascualita – 3. Morenada central – 4. Tonada para Remedios – 5. Bolivia – 6. Carnestolendas – 7. El trasnochador – 8. Colquechacamanta – 9. Al pobre – 10. Viva Trinidad – 11. Mariposa nocturna – 12. Carnaval orureño – 13. Solo tú – 14. Selección cochabambina – 15. La ausencia
“Zulma Yugar” (1982), “El disco de oro” (1986), “Abriendo brecha” (1988), “Compartiendo talentos” (1990) and “Grandes éxitos” (1993). Her repertoire comprises songs from all over the country, though she has always put special emphasis on the most traditional sounds.
Along with some tracks inspired by Quechua music such as “Pascualita”, “Selección cochabambina” or famous “Colquechacamanta”, the album also includes Aymara songs (“K’oli pankarita”), songs from Tarija (“Tonada para Remedios”, “Carnestolendas”) and from the eastern part of the country (“Viva Trinidad”).
Yugar has been a tireless traveller and cultural manager in her country and abroad, and since 2010 she is in charge of the Ministry of Cultures of Bolivia.
Lo mejor de Luzmila Carpio
(Bolivia - 1999)
1. Sumaq papa puquchisun – 2. Ch'uwa yaku kawsaypuni – 3. Riqsisqakasunchik – 4. Yanapariwayku – 5. Tunupan samiripa – 6. Kutimpuchkani – 7. Achamamata t'ikanchasun – 8. Qalay qalay – 9. Jach'a Tatala – 10. Arawi – 11. Warmikuna yupay chasqapuni kasunchik – 12. Warmip kawsaynin – 13. Sumaj awaq warmi – 14. Jula jula wanku – 15. Ayllunchik kawsachun – 16. Unkumanta – 17. Kuntur Mallku – 18. Wawa tusuchinapaq phatitan
Charango and quena player, singer and composer, Luzmila Carpio was born in the Quechua community of Qala Qala (departament of Potosí). Heir to a great tradition of singing women, she started her career in Oruro in 1969, and since then she has continued and contributed to this tradition with several albums, a lot of concerts and a number of international tours. Through her works she portrays her love of her land and her people. Special mention deserve “Luzmila Carpio” (1977), “Thinkus” (1979), “Sumaj Llajta” (1981), “Un peuple qui ne chante pas est un peuple mort” (1983), “Canciones norte potosinas” (1993), “Arawi – Le chant a la terre” (1995) and “Le chant de la terre et des étoiles” (2004).
Her singing (most of it in Quechua language) shows versatility and reflects the deepest feelings of the Quechua communities of Bolivia. These feelings are best illustrated in “Lo mejor...”, a collection of huaynos that tell us about the daily life of her people (“Sumaq papa puquchisun” or “Wawa tusuchinapaq phatitan”) and also give voice to some of their claims (“Ayllunchik kawsachun” or “Warmikuna yupay chasqapuni kasunchik”).
In 2006, Luzmila Carpio was appointed as the Ambassador of Bolivia to France, where she has been living since 1984.
Le Chant du Monde
Bolivia: Music of the Calcha
(CNRS – Musée de l’Homme - 2000)
1. Jant’arki – 2. Jant’arki et chant – 3. Saripalka – 4. Llajtalloj – 5. Valle – 6. Ara Fiesta – 7. Ara Fiesta – 8. Ramos – 9. Ramos – 10. Loternas – 11. Tarpuy de Choque – 12. Tarpuy de Mojón Chiquito – 13. Ayarachi – 14. Hailliri – 15. Hailliri – 16. Ayarachi:Phukuneros de Chavarría – 17. Ayarachi: Phukuneros de Estumilla – 18. Monos – 19. Santa Bárbara
Recorded in Calcha (departament of Potosí) by Rosalía Martínez between 1996 and 1998 for France’s CNRS and Bolivia’s CIAC, the album reflects the music of the Calcha people, a fraction of the Chicha chiefdom that still maintain their identity in this region of the Andes.
The music has unique features, like the use of the jantark’i (a wooden whistle played by women only), the trumpet larín, groups of panpipes ayarachi, and tropas of large pinkillos saripalka and malicho. These instruments are present on one or other track of the album “Music of the Calcha”; in addition, the recording includes songs typically played at certain moments of the year (sowing songs, tracks 11-12; Lent songs, tracks 8-10) as well as a handful of particular styles (e.g. the hailliris, tracks 14-15, or the ayarachis, tracks 16-17) whose origins date back to pre-Hispanic times.