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Classic group Andean music
    Land of winds > Perfomers > Classic group | Issue 09 (Mar.-Apr.2012)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza



Awatiñas (from Aymara awatiña, "to herd, keep an eye on or graze [cattle]") appeared in La Paz, Bolivia, in 1970. The line-up comprises Mario Conde, Miguel Conde, Eddy Beltrán, Vidal Beltrán, Juan Beltrán and Roberto Yujra, all of them of Aymara ancestry and native to either La Paz or the town of Tiahuanaco/Tiwanaku. From the beginning they are engaged in collecting and diffusing Bolivia’s traditional folklore in general and Aymara’s in particular.

In the early 70s they launched their career appearing in front of receptive audiences at live venues and on several radio stations of the capital. They met with a favourable reception and set off touring extensively through South America. Back at home, in 1974 the band won the Second Award at the Second Lauro Festival of Bolivian Song which took place in Cochabamba. Immediately afterwards, they moved to Europe and played a series of concerts all over the Old Continent, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. In 1979 the band launched its first album, "Awatiñas", followed by "Bolivia" (1981), "Awatkipasipxañanakasataki" (in Aymara, "protecting our integrity") (1984), "Bolivia (Aruskipasipxañanakasakipunirakispawa)" (1987) and "Kullakita" (in Aymara, "little sister") (1990).

The albums contain classics like "El cóndor pasa", "Mi raza", "Imillitay", and "Desde lejos", however, as time went on, more traditional songs ("T'awat'aw Nak'antatayna", "K'aspani", "Llakt'ata" and "Qarwa qallu") as well as compositions of their own based on Aymara music ("Wilamaj wilajama", "Altiplano", "Ak'apana", "Apachita") were included.

The band recorded two compilations "Grandes éxitos" (1991) and "De colección" (1993) before releasing new material: "El inca Atahualpa (Wiñaypachjakapxañanakasakipunirakiwa)" (1994), "Kullasuyu-ja" (in Aymara, "my Kollasuyo") (1997), "Apthapi (Merienda comunitaria)" (2001), "Tunkata pä tunkaru" (in Aymara, "from 10 to 20") (2002), "Irthapi (Matrimonio aymara)" (2004) and "Jichhapi Jichhanexa" (in Aymara, "now is when") (2009), their last work hitherto. The album "Kollasuyu-ja" is worth noticing for the track "Mayata tunkaru", thought to teach to count to ten in Aymara, and for a very interesting selection of native music (another selection of this particular music was featured on "Apthapi").

The Conde brothers, who are both the band’s composers, have produced such well-known songs as "Mina Colquiri", "Quirquinchos de corazón", "Guerrero Aymara", "Chicaloma", "En los cocales", "Kullakita" and "Urphila". On the other hand, the presence of tropas (groups) of flutes and panpipes adds a unique touch to the band’s musical arrangements. However, its most remarkable feature is the lyrics written in Aymara as a means to restore the use of this language.

Although the band resides in France, they regularly visit their homeland. There they continue to spread their Aymara culture and carry out social work initiatives related to donations of pharmaceuticals and funding for schools.

Official website [es].
Link partial discography [].
Lyrics of "Mayata tunkaru", in Mayachat Aymara [es].

Video 01. "Mayata tunkaru".
Video 02. "En los cocales".
Video 03. "Kullakita".
Video 04. "Urphila".
Video 05. "Mi triste adiós".
Video 06. "Jichhapi jichhanexa".
Video 07. "Pecado de amor".
Video 08. "Guerrero aymara".

Picture A.

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