Andean music

From Academic Kids

Andean music comes from the approximate area inhabited by the Incas prior to European contact. It includes the countries Chile, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Andean music

Wind and percussion instruments are known to have existed even prior to the Incas, but musical evolution peaked with the Incan empire. The arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century brought string instruments and new forms, spurring the invention of the distinctive charango, a stringed instrument similar to a lute.

Panpipes (Aymara: siku; Quechua: antara; Spanish: zampoña) are an ancient indigenous instrument that comes in multiple varieties. Some modern panpipes are capable of playing a full scale, and are used as solo instruments, while traditional panpipes were played in pairs; this is still commonplace with two performers sharing a melody. Quenas (notched-end flutes) remain popular, and are traditionally made out of bamboo, though PVC piping has become popular. Quenas are generally only played during the dry season, while vertical flutes called tarkas taking over in the wet. Marching bands dominated by drums and panpipes are commonplace, and are used to celebrate weddings and other holidays.

The 20th century has seen drastic changes in Andean society and culture. Bolivia, for example, saw a nationalistic revolution in 1952, leading to increased rights and social awareness for natives. The new government established a folklore department in the Bolivian Ministry of Education, and radio stations began broadcasting in Aymara and Quechua. By 1965, an influential group called Los Jairas formed in La Paz, Bolivia; the quartet fused native sounds into forms suitable for urban Europeans and the middle class. One member of Los Jairas, Gilbert Favre (a Swiss-French flautist) had previously been an acquaintance of the Parras (Angel, Isabel and their mother Violeta) in Paris. The Parras eventually began promoting indigenous music in Santiago, Chile. The late 1960s released native groups such as Ruphay, Grupo Aymara and the emblematic quechua singer Luzmila Carpio. Later Chilean groups like Inti-Illimani and Los Curacas took the fusion work of Los Jairas and the Parras to invent nueva canción, which returned to Bolivia in the 1980s in the form of canto nuevo artists like Emma Junaro and Matilde Casazola.


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