Rhythm 'n' Roots

Musical Explorations.

Música Mestiza (0)

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Coming back to Perú I inevitably became reacquainted with Huayno and as I descended the highlands towards Bolivia it became clear Huayno is the popular music of the Andean people. It is a mestizo music: taking the traditional Huayno rhythms and vocal styles of the Incas and mixing it with Spanish lyrics and instruments such as harps and accordions. The musicians play repeated phrases, stretched brass lines and swirling violins accompanied by harping vocals and music box like plucked strings; at times it sounds a long way from Latin American music. It uses a lot of the pentatonic scale, used in folk music across the world, perhaps explaining why at times the harp phrases sound rather more Asian than Latin American.

Huayno Dancing

Perú: Huayno del Centro

Of the 200 or so tracks on this disc some are modern versions of Huaynos complete with cheesy drum machines and keyboards but the ones which really got me were the old, badly recorded tracks. The warm, live sound emphasises the fierce emotion which characterises the style, the vocals near shouting with passion.

Haydee Raymundo

Haydee Raymundo - Cuatro Palabras


The self-proclaimed "voz de los pobres," I first heard Haydee in a taxi ride and from then on she cropped up everywhere!

Picaflor de los Andes (Victor Mallma)

Picaflor de los Andes - Sacrilegio


One of the few men on the CD, el Picaflor de los Andes (The Hummingbird of the Andes), better known as Victor Mallma, was one the many "provincianos" who migrated to Lima in the 60s looking for work. He brought the folkloric music of the provinces to the city and became an key figure, representing the lives of the impoverished classes lured to the city. 100,000 people turned out to the man's funeral in 1975.

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