Rhythm 'n' Roots

Musical Explorations.

The first I heard of Bolivian rapper Abraham Bojorquez was, unfortunately, his tragic and untimely death in May this year. Aged 26, he was run down by a bus in the city of El Alto (the huge sprawl which sits above La Paz.) I read an article on this website and since reading it have been on the lookout for some of his music. Thanks to Ghetto Bassquake I have managed to find an album by Ukamau y Ké, his group, and it lives up to the reputation.

Abraham Bojorquez ( Wara Vargas / www.lamalapalabra.tk)

Bojorquez learnt his trade in Brazil while working in a textile factory. Intrigued by the role rap played for the young people of the favelas (as a means of expression), when he returned to Bolivia in 2003 he went about creating a rap scene in El Alto. Founding the group Ukamau y Ké and starting open-mic sessions, Bojorquez was, as Ghetto Bassquake puts it, The Godfather of Bolivian Rap.

Wayna Tambo radio community station where Bojorquez had a show

He was first and foremost a rapper of the people, his songs often political and social, dealing with the problems faced by the native Bolivian people in light of the years of opression and struggle against autocratic and racist regimes, or indeed individuals. He brought Aymaran, (The first language of 73% of El Alto's population and 25% of Bolivia's) culture to hip-hop and to the world, changing between rapping in Spanish and Aymara. The personal account given by Benjamin Dangl on the above site or here is a testament to the young producer and MC. Here is another interesting article by Dangl from 2006 about Aymaran hip-hop in El Alto.

My own tribute is a remix of the Ukamau y Ké track La Coca, download below:

Ukamau Y Ké - La Coca (El Buho Remix)

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