By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Carnaval de Arapa
The Carnival of Arapa is a festival that takes place in the community of Tequena (Arapa district, province of Azángaro, department of Puno, southern Peru), at the shore of the Arapa Lake. The celebrations last one week and include the t'ikachasqa (the adornment of houses, animals and small farms with flowers), the chaku apaykuy (animals and food given to authorities as a gift), the llasasqa (bride kidnapping) and the wanderings of a character known as Puqllay mach'u, which represents the spirit of the festival.
The festival’s traditional dance is accompanied by the ceremonial sound of the pinkilladas, consisting of cajas (drums) and the so called "pinkillos de Arapa" (type of flutes).
At some moment in the past, curiously as it may seem, an urban music group took one of the melodies heard during the festival, adapted it to fit the rhythm of huayno, entitled the song "Carnaval de Arapa" and created a new style. As on other occasions in Latin America, dance academies and lots of musical groups regarded this particular version as the festival’s original music. The song took root and is widely spread throughout the present Andean musical repertoire (Takillakta is one of those bands that recorded it).
Fortunately, thanks to the dedication and perseverance of local musicians like Víctor Ayamamani, those interested will be able to actually experience the original sound of the pinkilladas that serve as the musical backdrop for this festival held in Tequena.