By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Also known as tokhoro (after the cane’s name out of which it is made), the senqatanqana (from Quechua sinqa, “nose” and tanqana, “what pushes”, that is, “push-nose”) or senka tenkana, is an aerophone of the pinkillos family similar to the mohoceño salliba. It is a traditional instrument of the Yampara people of Tarabuco (province of Yamparáez, department of Chuquisaca), and it’s used at the pujllay festival: the celebration of the Carnival of Tarabuco.
The senqatanqana can be more than one and a half meter long with a diameter of 5-7 cm, though its dimensions and therefore its tunings vary depending on the size. It has six finger holes on the front, and sometimes it has extra holes bored at the end that are solely for enhancing the flute’s low tones and are never fingered by the player.
Since the size of the flute is so big, its structure has been arranged so that both fingering and blowing techniques can be kept as simple as possible. As a result, the upper part of the flute consists of a head piece (a sort of block or fipple) made of mapha (beeswax), wood or tar, with a cane sokhosa pipe between 5 and 20 cm long inserted on it to allow air insufflation into the flute. Unlike other flutes of the pinkillos family, the edge of the senqatanqanas is located on the back of the flute.
The senqatanqana is the largest in a tropa of flutes locally known as pinkhullus. The other two sizes (usually known as pinkhullus tokhoro) are 80 and 60 cm long and are tuned in parallel fifths and octaves. The three flutes sound low and have a deep, mellow tone. However, higher pitches are preferred in most traditional contexts, as it happens to be the case of the famous pujllay festival of Tarabuco.
Picture 01. Pinkhullus tokhoro in Tarabuco 01.
Picture 02. Pinkhullus tokhoro in Tarabuco 02.
Picture 03. Pinkhullu in Tarabuco.
Picture 04. Senqatanqana in Tarabuco.
Picture 05. Pinkhullus tokhoro in Tarabuco 03.
Picture 06. Pinkhullus in Tarabuco.
Picture A | Picture B, C y D: Edgardo Civallero