By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Also known as "lonkomeo" or "loncomeo", from Mapudungu longko, "head" and mew, "movement of", the term denotes a type of Mapuche dance which, as suggested by its name, involves shaking the head back and forth and sideways. Generally speaking, it refers to most of the dances mimicking animals, such as the choike pürrün (in Mapudungu, "the ostrich dance"), which, according to some sources, may be considered as a "variant" of the former.
All forms of longkomew are accompanied by chants and the sound of the kultrun, the kaskawilla, the pifilka and the trutruka. By extension, the term also describes the music style stemmed from such expressions if it is possible to speak of "style" in connection with a heterogeneous set of musical forms.
During the 60s, several Argentinean folklorists appropriated the names and some of the characteristic features of the Mapuche and Tehuelche music to "create" new "Mapuche" or "Araucanian" rhythms such as the loncomeo, the tahiel and the kaáni. Famous "loncomeos" within the Argentinean popular music tradition were born this way including "Amutuy Soledad" (Marcelo Berbel), "Quimey Neuquén" and "Yapay peñí" (Hermanos Berbel) and "Aonikenk" (Rubén Patagonia). Despite their ongoing attempt to "recover" and spread indigenous sounds, these folkloric rhythms have little to do with the originals, which, far from needing to be rescued, enjoy an excellent health in their communities where anyone interested in the Mapuche music can approach it without intermediaries, and listen to it without decorations or adjustments at all.
Video 01. "Choike pürrün". Example of longkomew original music.
Video 02. "Quimey Neuquén", by Hermanos Berbel.
Video 03. "Yapay peñi", by Hermanos Berbel.
Video 04. "Loncomeo", by Silvia Carrillo.
Video 05. "Rogativa de loncomeo", by Los Fronterizos.