By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Conjunto Alma Caucana
This group was founded in 1955 in Popayán (department of Cauca, Colombia) by the brothers Álvaro and Ennio Vivas, who were joined later on by musicians such as Leonardo Vivas, Jesús Satizábal, Orlando Medina, Luis Salazar, Néstor Velasco and Alberto Dulce. In 1975 the group auto-produced its first album, which was also the first recording ever of a chirimía caucana (band of flutes and drums of the Cauca department); it was followed by a second album released in 1978 with the same record label, Chávez (Pasto, department of Nariño).
Both albums were the earliest (and until 1987 the only existing) commercial recordings of the genre later known as "chirimía andina" ("Andean chirimia"). Thus, in those years, Alma Caucana's music appeared on the radio with regularity and was used to provide the musical setting for countless events, and eventually became a kind of "paradigm of the culture and music" found in the department of Cauca, and a model from which to draw inspiration.
Alma Caucana's urban playing style is polished and virtuoso, far removed from the peasant/indigenous "imperfect" and much more traditional style of rural chirimías.
Video 01. Conjunto Alma Caucana.