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Lyrics Andean music
    Land of winds > Music > Lyrics | Issue 19 (May.-Jun. 2014)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Cuando florezca el chuño

(Hugo Gutiérrez. In "Cuando florezca el chuño". K'ala Marka, 1991)

Cuando florezca el chuño

In Europe, Bolivian group K'ala Marka (in Aymara, "stone village") rose to fame in the 1990s, though they were already known in their country a decade earlier (a little-known part of their career). They managed to blend together the Bolivian music of the Altiplano (mostly of Aymara origins) and the music styles in fashion at European clubs at the time; likewise, they combined traditional Andean instruments with electric sounds (keyboards, electric drum set, pre-recorded tracks). The outcome left an indelible mark in the history of the "Andean music" as a genre.

Among the greatest hits are the tinku "Aguas claras", the sikuri "Malakun wawapa" and the tobas "Cuando florezca el chuño". "Los tobas" is a Bolivian folkloric dance which depicts the native peoples of the lowlands as they were seen by Quechua and Aymara inhabitants of the highlands. It is a lively dance, where dancers in stunning costumes perform acrobatic steps. During the last three decades it has gained popularity at Carnival and other Andean festivals. The music is usually played by a brass band. However, there are many groups that dance to the recorded music of the "tobas" by K'ala Marka, especially "Cuando florezca el chuño".

The lyrics include a word that has been the cause of much confusion: often written as "citoya", it would designate a bird. There is a sentence in the chorus that says "you and I" both in Quechua (qanwan ñuqawan) and in Aymara (jumampi nayampi). The title is a sort of metaphor for "never", since the chuño is a kind of dehydrated potato that has been processed by freezing and thawing, therefore, it will neither grow nor bloom.

Si tus padres ya me odian
es por mi mala culpa.
Si las citoyas no silban
es por tu gran ausencia.
Dicen que vuelves, volverás
como el río que se va al lago (bis).

[If your parents already hate me
is my fault.
If the citoyas do not whistle
is because of your great absence.
They say that you are returning, you'll return
as the river that flows to the lake (bis)].

Jumampi nayampi
cuando florezca el chuño.
Qanwan ñuqawan
cuando florezca el chuño.

[You and I,
when the chuño blooms.
You and I,
when the chuño blooms].

No digas que has olvidado
la tierra donde naciste (bis).
Dicen que vuelves, volverás
como el río que se va al lago (bis).

[Don't tell me that you've forgotten
the land where you were born (bis).
They say that you are returning, you'll return
as the river that flows to the lake (bis)].

Jumampi nayampi
cuando florezca el chuño.
Qanwan ñuqawan
cuando florezca el chuño.

[You and I,
when the chuño blooms.
You and I,
when the chuño blooms].


Video 01. "Cuando florezca el chuño", by K'ala Marka.


Picture A.


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