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    Land of winds > The land > Geography | Issue 13 (Jan.-Feb. 2013)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Lands of Pan flutes

Lands of Pan flutes

Pan flutes have been and are used throughout the entire Andean world, however, the type of double row panpipe (siku) played by most sikuris bands today has its origins in the Meseta del Collao (Andean Plateau), a region shared by present day Peru and Bolivia.

The western half of this high plain (to the west of Lake Titicaca) comprises Puno department, one of the southernmost administrative divisions of Peru. Land of zampoñas (panpipes) and sikuriadas (sikuris bands), Puno is the cradle of a very interesting bunch of music for Andean panpipes groups.

Located between the two southern branches of the Peruvian Andes (the western and eastern ranges), the region's altitude ranges from 3,800 to 5,500 mts. To the north and northeast the slopes fall towards the Bolivian and Peruvian yungas, warm valleys that give a hint of the nearby Amazon rainforest, while to the southeast the lonely vastness of the high plain looks in the mirror of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world (3,812 mts). To the west lie the departments of Cuzco and Arequipa, and the beginning of the Peruvian Sierra and the cultural region known as Central Andes.

Puno region, in Wikipedia.
Puno, in Wikipedia.
Lake Titicaca, in Wikipedia.

Lands of Pan flutes

Puno includes 13 provinces, some of which can be travelled following a couple of tourist routes whose names remember the ethnic groups that inhabit the region: Aymara and Quechua.

The Aymara route covers the southern part of the department, bordering Lake Titicaca. Starting from Chucuito province, which borders on Bolivia, enters the capital city, Juli, famous in the old times for housing the first printing press in the region, from where Father Ludovico Bertonio's Aymara language dictionary came out. There are great sikumorenos bands throughout the whole province of Chucuito.

Further on, the itinerary continues through the province of Yunguyo, which covers half of the Copacabana peninsula, bordering on Lake Titicaca. The scene of religious festivals, processions and traditional celebrations, Yunguyo is also one of the places where you can still listen to the sikuris chiriguanos, which are becoming rarer each time around. The route heads north, crossing the province of El Collao and its capital city, Ilave, into the province of Puno, where lies the Ácora district (famous for the chullpas, ancient burial sites, of K'ellojani and Mollocco). There are several sikuris and sikumorenos bands in this province, its capital sheltering some of the best-known bands in Peru.

Lands of Pan flutes

After visiting the archaeological site of Sillustani and its astounding chullpas, the journey continues towards the peninsula of Capachica and the near islands of Taquile and Amantani, where you find the sikuri style called "from Taquile" or "islands' sikuri".

This route finishes in the provinces of Huancané (the other place where you can listen to the sikuris chiriguanos, perhaps the most popular ones) and Moho, which includes the district of Conima, well-known for its groups of sikuris.

Chucuito province, in Wikipedia.
Juli, in Wikipedia [es].
Yunguyo province, in Wikipedia.
Ilave, in Wikipedia [es].
Puno province, in Wikipedia.
Taquile Island, in Wikipedia.
Amantani, in Wikipedia.
Huancané province, in Wikipedia.
Moho province, in Wikipedia.

The Quechua way goes through the provinces of Lampa and Melgar, where the phukus flutes included in the tropa of ayarachis are still played today, especially in the district of Paratia. The route then continues towards the province of Sandia passing through the provinces of Azángaro and Carabaya. There is where you can find the flutes kinray included in the tropa of ayarachis.

Lampa province, in Wikipedia.
Melgar province, in Wikipedia.
Azángaro province, in Wikipedia.
Carabaya province, in Wikipedia.
Sandia province, in Wikipedia.

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