By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
The passacaglia (Spanish, pasacalle) is a rhythm that originated in Europe. It used to be performed by street players and groups of serenaders, therefore its name, which derives from the Spanish verb pasar, "to walk", and calle, "street". This musical form found means of expression in the cultured music of Europe during the Barroque period. As time passed, on popular grounds the term became identified with various musical forms usually performed by rondalla ensembles (groups of singers and musicians who play stringed instruments to serenade people).
In the Andes, the passacaglia is performed by bands with different instruments and retains a resemblance to the Spanish pasodoble (traditional dance and march-like musical style).
Although Andean passacaglias have similar structure, each has a distinctive local feature: the ones from Ecuador (mostly performed on stringed instruments) are different from those found in the Peruvian Sierra (where brass bands predominate), which also differ from the passacaglia played in the area surrounding Lake Titicaca (featuring panpipes and several other local aerophones).
The passacaglia usually accompanies parades and processions both at the beginning and at the end of a particular festival or celebration. Generally speaking, passacaglia compositions are written in 2/4; the ones performed by sikuris bands are often accompanied by bombos and snare drums and played fast.
Sometimes, it is the sikuris bands themselves that use the term "pasacalle" to refer to any song played while they are parading through the streets; they're usually sikuris or sikumorenos performed at different tempo.
Passacaglia, in Wikipedia.
Video 01. Pasacalle performed by the Sitajara sikuris band (Calacala).
Video 02. Pasacalle performed by the sikuris bands Claveles Rojos and Wiñay Qhantati Ururi from Huancané (Peru, 2012).
Video 03. Pasacalle in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, by Sikuris Unión Juventud Pampilla.