Rhythm 'n' Roots

Musical Explorations.

In January I left BA and hit the road for three months taking in Chile, Perú, Ecuador, Bolivia and Northern Argentina. Along the way I managed to amass a collection of music ranging from Música Nacional Bolivia 2009 to Nuevas Bachatas #113 2008. For the most part I didn't see anything which resembled what I know to be a record store, all the music shops were filled with mountains of pirated CDs with badly photocopied inlays. Think 300 tracks on one CD for $4. I guess the RIAA and the IFPI don't hold much sway round these parts...I brought it all back and did some digesting and now it is time for the regurgitation!

For the next week or so I am going to offer up one track from each CD per day (ish) each with a short description and the track itself for listening/downloading. I suppose you could call it musical geography. I offer you my musical journey through South America.

Southern Peru: Pioneras del Huayno

Starting with a disc purchased in Tacna on the border of Chile and Peru after a taxi driver introduced me to Huayno. It is a music and dance which comes from the mountainous regions of Perú and is characterized by the rhythm; one long, two short, the andean instrumentation (charango, harp, drum etc) and it's shrill singing. Each song on this disc also includes an introdcution by a chap bigging up said chantante or offering some words of wisdom such as, "treat your woman well, she deserves it." Modern Huayno often fuses the traditions with other elements such as cumbia, rock and even reggae!

The ladies on this disc, however, are the pioneers. It features the delightful Flor Pilena, Mina Gonzales, Sally, Alicia Delgado and Wilma Contreras. Alicia Delgado was tragically killed last week amid rumours that her fellow folk singer Abencia Mezaso masterminded the murder. Thus, I have chosen two songs from this disc, one in memory of Alicia and the other a personal favourite.

Alicia Delgado - Luna


Mina Gonzales - Aguila Negra

The track I have chosen is a reverb laden ode to a black eagle...I love the Huayno rhythm which is so hard to pin down and the vocals are so rhythmic. The verse on this one is just great. "Que corazón tan variable!"

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1 Reply to "Musical Journey - Pioneras del Huayno"

Anonymous on 29 July 2009 at 22:28

I always have enjoyed listening to Alicia's and huaynos in general. It is the equivalent to the blues to me. This music touches my hearth and I feel for Alicia


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