By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Llamerada or qarwani
The llamerada or the llameros dance (in Aymara, qarwani, "llamero, the owner of a herd of llamas") is native to the Aymara herdsmen communities located in the high plateau region of Bolivia, department of La Paz. Its choreography represents the activities of the llameros, those who tended Andean camelids and used them to transport products harvested on the high plateau (salt, chuño or freeze-dried potato, charque or dried meat) to the eastern valleys, where they were exchanged for coca leaf and maize.
On the one hand, the steps of the dance are intended to describe the llameros’ attitude and, on the other, the graceful movements of the llamas. Male dancers wear a shirt and a pair of flannel trousers, abarcas (sort of sandals), a chumpi or multicoloured wide belt around the waist, a colourful aguayo (blanket) tied on the breast and a wiska (rope) crossed with the aguayo. In addtion, they can also wear a plaster mask with big eyes and pursued lips meant to indicate the herdsmen whistle. For their part, females put on several polleras or wide skirts, a blouse and the aguayo. Women and men wear a four pointed hat, the montera, similar to that worn by the pre-Hispanic inhabitants settled on the shores of the Titicaca Lake. Finally, they also carry bags and bundles embellished with coins, spoons and small silver plates, as well as whirl wool slings (q'urawas or korawas).
This dance is widely spread in Bolivia, where it is regarded as one of the country’s most traditional dances and performed in all major Bolivian festival. In mestizo and urban context many more colours have been added to the clothes (which, in general, distinguish one group or comparsa from another).
The llamerada is accompanied by a musical rhythm of the same name (which, in traditional contexts, is usually played on the pinkillos (flutes) known as karhuani), and was recognized by the Bolivian government as Cultural and Immaterial Heritage in 2011.
Picture 01. Urban llamerada 01.
Picture 02. Urban llamerada 02
Picture 03. Urban llamerada 03
Picture 04. Urban llamerada 04
Picture 05. Urban llamerada 05.
Picture 06. Urban llamerada 06.
Picture 07. Detail of the montera.
Picture 08. Llamerada montera and sling.
Picture 09. Llamerada mask 01.
Picture 10. Llamerada mask 02.
Picture 11. Llamerada masks 01.
Picture 12. Llamerada masks 02.
Video 01. "Selección de llameradas", by Banda Juventud Centralistas.
Video 02. "Selección de llameradas", by Llamerada San Andrés de la UMSA, at Gran Poder 2008, La Paz.
Video 03. "Selección de llameradas", by Llamerada Zona Norte, at Oruro Carnival 2008.
Video 04. “Hondas al viento” (llamerada), by Yara.
Video 05. “Llamerada”, by Alaxpacha.
Video 06. "Wawitay" (llamerada), by Llajtaymanta (live).
Video 07. “Llameradas”, by K'alamarka (modern version).