By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
The zapateo (stomp) that accompanies the music played by flutes or gaitas in the northern and central Ecuadorian is not only a dance step but also, and at the same time, a way of setting the beat as well as a key element with regard to the flute bands' final sound; an element which, in fact, characterizes the sound landscape of festivals such as the Inti Raymi. The stomp is performed by both musicians and dancers, and is understood to be a form of extracting music from the ground, as if it were one more instrument. While the rhythm created by the repeated sound of the feet stamping on the ground allows for the flute players to synchronize and coordinate their playing, according to certain opinions, it also offers up a connection to the Andean Pachamama, "Mother Earth" or "Earth Mother".
Article. "¡Así Kotama! The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador".