By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
With origins in the department of Santa Cruz, in eastern Bolivia, the carnavalito cruceño is a rhythm (and its associated dance) somehow similar to the bailecito of Chuquisaca or the chacarera of Tarija. Some sources point out that it might be considered a colonial variant derived from the huayno of Cochabamba and Vallegrande and the Spanish jota, though the truth of such historical statement remains uncertain from a musicological point of view.
Despite not being properly an "Andean" rhythm, it has been strongly influenced by this region’s musical repertoire and, just like the taquirari of the neighbouring department of Beni, it is performed by many Andean folk ensembles both in Bolivia and the rest of the Andes.
The lyrics recount love stories as well as customs, traditions and landscapes of Santa Cruz. Generally speaking, this rhythm was usually played at Carnival (especially by music bands called "buris"), though now it has spread widely and can be heard at any time of the year.
The dance looks like the European waltz. Female dancers used to wear a colourful tipoy (a sleeveless long dress) and flowers in their hair, while men dressed in white shirt, mid calf trousers, neckerchief and the typical sao hat hand made from palm tree leaves.
Article. "Carnavalito", in Viceministerio de Desarrollo de las Culturas de Bolivia [es].