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    Land of winds > Rhythms and styles > Rhythm | Issue 17 (Jan.-Feb. 2014)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza



The huaylía (wayliya, waylilla) is a rhythm (and its associated dance) of mestizo origin, played in the Central and southern Sierra of Peru (departments of Cusco, Ayacucho and Apurímac, and neighbouring areas in the department of Arequipa).

The meaning and function of this rhythm varies from region to region. In the province of Chumbivilcas (department of Cusco), the huaylía is closely related to the takanakuy (in Quechua, "beating each other"), a ritual fight that takes place annually, on December 25th, which allows people to solve differences and disputes, while, at the same time, they manage to channel their violence in ways controlled and regulated by the community. The takanakuy has its main setting in Santo Tomás, the capital city of the province. Played on a large violin and sung in Quechua with the style that is hallmark of the Peruvian Sierra (falsetto female singing), the huaylía provides the musical background for processions, festivals and fist fighting.

For its part, in the province of Antabamba (department of Apurímac), the huaylía is played at Christmas time, between December 23rd and 28th, accompanying a famous dance-procession with as many variants as the places in which it is celebrated (at least 23 different styles have already been clearly identified as such), which has been declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation. Generally speaking, in each community there are several organizers (known as "mayordomos", "cargontes" or "devocionarios") who bring together a "tropa" consisting of between 80 and 200 dancers all dressed as "pastores" (herders) with masks, feathered headdresses, ties, colourful belts and whips. These characters march in two rows led by "truenadores" or "guiadores" (male guides) following the singing of 4-5 "guiadoras" (experienced singers who act as female guides), who sing to the music of the violin. This province is also home of the takanakuy tradition.

Finally, the huaylía of the department of Ayacucho (Sucre, Huancasancos, Lucanas and Parinacochas provinces) is similar in some ways to that of Apurímac. Also known as the "danza de los cóndores" (condors dance), it is performed by the machuq (herders) and the haylliq (female singers) following the music of the harp and the violin. Different groups or "tropas", led by the "capataces", compete against each other in a singing and dance competition known as atipanakuy. One of the most remarkable features that characterizes the huaylía of Ayacucho are the zuecos (wooden pieces attached to the shoes) and the sonaja (a sistrum or rattle) carried by the dancers, both used to mark the rhythm of the dance.

Article. "La huaylía antabambina", by Aquilino Valenzuela Delgado [es].
Article. "Concepto de pastores y huaylías", by Johana Quispe Ccoyllo [es].
Article. "La huaylía, ¿danza de vaqueros?", in Botella al Mar [es].

Picture 01. Huaylía of Antabamba 01.
Picture 02. Huaylía of Antabamba 02.
Picture 02. Huaylía of Antabamba 03.
Picture 04. Huaylía of Ayacucho 01.
Picture 05. Huaylía of Ayacucho 02.

Video 01. "Tribulcha" (huaylía chumbivilcana) by Leónidas Layme and las Hijas Predilectas de Ccoyo.
Video 02. "Keyñan keyñan" (huaylía chumbivilcana) by Leónidas Layme and las Hijas Predilectas de Ccoyo.
Video 03. "Maytucuy" (huaylía chumbivilcana) by Leónidas Layme and las Hijas Predilectas de Ccoyo.
Video 04. "Viscacha" (huaylía chumbivilcana) by Leónidas Layme and las Hijas Predilectas de Ccoyo.
Video 05. Huaylía of Vito (Antabamba).
Video 06. Huaylía of Antabamba 01.
Video 07. Huaylía of Antabamba 02.
Video 08. Huaylía of Lucanas (Ayacucho).

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